Celebrated Baseball Writer Was 'Always Fair'

Rick Hummel covered Cardinals, MLB for a half-century
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2023 5:01 PM CDT
Rick Hummel Covered Baseball for a Half-Century
Rick Hummel speaks after receiving the JG Taylor Spink Award during the National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Cooperstown, New York, in 2007.   (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Rick Hummel, an esteemed sports writer who covered the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball for five decades for the Post-Dispatch until his retirement last year, has died. He was 77. Hummel died in his sleep at his St. Louis-area home Saturday after a short, aggressive illness, the newspaper reported Monday. "Always fair. Always in a good mood. Always wearing some kind of goofy hat and mismatched pants that made me smile," Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright tweeted. "The respect and trust he earned from players is a rare thing in our world. ... Still taking hand written notes that are impossible to read, and never misquoting. Still looking for the best in people and writing the truth."

Hummel was nicknamed "The Commish" for running an American Professional Baseball Association board game with colleagues, and the moniker became so known throughout baseball that even MLB Commissioners Rob Manfred and Bud Selig called Hummel by the label. "Rick Hummel was one of the best and most respected baseball writers of his or any era," Manfred said, per the AP. "Baseball will miss Rick," Selig said, "not only because he was one of the greatest baseball writers of our time, but because he was a wonderful friend, adviser, and clearly a great source of baseball knowledge to so many of us within the game for the last 50 years."

Hummel grew up in Quincy, Illinois, and received a journalism degree from the University of Missouri. He worked for Colorado Springs papers while in the Army, then was hired in 1971 by Bob Broeg, the celebrated sports editor of the Post-Dispatch. Hummel started covering baseball in 1973 and was subbing on a trip to Cincinnati when he covered Tom Seaver's no-hitter in 1978. Hummel took over as Cardinals beat writer through 2002, then served two decades as the paper's national baseball writer. "The 51-year ride, except for a couple of broken windows, has been a smooth one," Hummel wrote in a farewell column. "I got to cover countless Cardinals playoffs, including three World Series champions, 35 World Series and the past 42 All-Star games." His goal was to tell readers something about the game they hadn't heard on radio or TV.

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On Hummel's last day on the job, he tweeted, per the Post-Dispatch, which he tried early on and disliked. "I was dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming," he wrote. "When I broke in here, the newsroom was typewriters, pneumatic tubes and editors yelling, 'Copy!'" Hummel was the 2006 winner of the Hall of Fame's JG Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing, which in 2021 was renamed the Baseball Writers' Association of America Career Excellence Award. "What really comes through is his love of the game," Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa said in 2006. "If you're only doing it to make a living, it's not as deep as if you do it and you love it." (More obituary stories.)

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