MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota sports activities columnist and radio character Sid Hartman, an old-school residence group booster who as soon as ran the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers and achieved almost as a lot celeb as a few of the athletes he coated, died Sunday. He was 100.
Hartman, whose first newspaper column was printed in 1945, died surrounded by his household, Star Tribune sports activities editor Chris Carr mentioned.
“It is a unhappy day,” Carr instructed The Related Press. “He’s the Star Tribune in some ways, no less than within the sports activities division. It speaks to his superb life that even at 100 and a half years previous, he passes away and we nonetheless cannot consider it.”
He stored up his age-defying tempo even after his one centesimal birthday celebration on March 15 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hartman continued to write down three columns per week for the Star Tribune as a centenarian, 4 throughout soccer season, and served as co-host of a Sunday morning radio present on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis.
“I’ve adopted the recommendation that for those who love what you do, you by no means work a day in your life,” Hartman wrote in his column printed on his one centesimal birthday. “Even at 100, I can say I nonetheless love what I do.”
“Our hearts are damaged with the information of Sid Hartman’s passing. It’s almost inconceivable to place into phrases what Sid meant to the sports activities world and to Minnesota,” the Minnesota Vikings mentioned in a press release. “He was an iconic sports activities determine, a tenacious reporter and a tireless advocate for his beloved state. His doggedness and work ethic have been unmatched, however it was Sid’s capacity to nurture relationships that actually set him aside. He was a confidant and a loyal buddy to numerous athletes and coaches throughout the nation.”
Vikings receiver Adam Thielen referred to as Hartman a “Minnesota icon.”
“Simply heard a narrative from him the opposite day, and he was clearly a giant a part of this group and was at all times across the facility, so we’re grieving throughout this time,” Thielen mentioned.
Hartman grew up poor on Minneapolis’ robust north aspect, the son of a Russian immigrant father and Latvian mom who at age 9 started promoting newspapers on downtown road corners. He dropped out of highschool within the tenth grade for a information run, selecting up papers and leaving them in drop packing containers.
In 1944, the circulation supervisor advisable Hartman for an internship on the sports activities desk on the previous Minneapolis Instances. A yr later, he was in print with a roundup of reports and notes, a mode he continued all through his profession. Hartman at all times referred to as himself a reporter, not a author. After the Instances folded in 1948, Hartman went to work on the Minneapolis Tribune protecting his beloved College of Minnesota.
Former Vikings coach Bud Grant recalled attending the college after World Warfare II and working into Hartman on Hartman’s first day as a beat author. Grant and his spouse turned associates with Hartman, and when Grant introduced his first retirement as Vikings coach in 1984, he shared the news solely with Hartman.
“They’d say ‘off the report,’ and to Sid that was off the report. He by no means broke a confidence, with anyone I ever knew,” Grant as soon as mentioned.
Hartman was an unapologetic throwback to the times when the wall between sportswriters and the groups and gamers they coated was not as outlined. Colleagues referred to “Sid’s Guidelines,” which utilized to Hartman and nobody else. “It was type of the Wild West, and Sid was the highest gunfighter,” mentioned Dave Mona, Hartman’s “Sports activities Huddle” co-host for the reason that WCCO-AM radio program debuted in 1981.
Typically due to the favorable protection he gave to native sports activities groups, Hartman was granted unparalleled behind-the-scenes entry to gamers, coaches and executives. He was given free rein to roam the place he wished, when he wished.
Hartman was instrumental in serving to lure professional groups to Minnesota. In his autobiography “Sid!” (co-written with fellow Star Tribune sports activities columnist Patrick Reusse), Hartman wrote that in 1947 he provided $15,000 to the proprietor of the Detroit Gems of the Nationwide Basketball League for the franchise, then went to Detroit to ship the examine. The group turned the Minneapolis Lakers, and Hartman was the de facto normal supervisor. Led by huge man George Mikan, the Lakers gained the NBL championship of their first season and 5 NBA championships. Hartman left the Lakers operation in 1957, and the group moved to Los Angeles in 1960.
He did all that whereas persevering with his newspaper work, a blatant battle of curiosity by right this moment’s requirements however an accepted follow in these days.
But he at all times tried to outwork different reporters for scoops. He was a well-known sight at most video games and information conferences, lugging a big, clunky, outdated tape recorder and a thick, black e-book full of pages of cellphone numbers. From George Steinbrenner to Bob Knight to Pete Carroll, Hartman’s rolodex has lengthy been a who’s-who of the sports activities world.
Hartman’s distinctive gruff, slurred speech and malaprops made him a favourite of listeners, media colleagues and the gamers and coaches he coated to mimic. On the radio, Hartman would someday cling up on or chastise callers — “geniuses,” as Hartman referred to as them — who voiced opinions he disagreed with. Regardless of his status as a curmudgeon, Hartman was routinely approached by followers for autographs and at all times obliged them.
In 2010, to mark his ninetieth birthday, a statute exhibiting Hartman holding a radio microphone, carrying an outsized tape recorder and with a Star Tribune tucked beneath his arm was unveiled on a nook exterior Goal Heart, the house of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
“RIP to the legend @SidHartman,” Timberwolves middle Karl-Anthony Cities tweeted.
RIP to the legend @SidHartman.
— Karl-Anthony Cities (@KarlTowns) October 18, 2020
“A part of my job was to carry him into the ’80s. Generally he got here pretty simply and typically he did not,” mentioned former Star Tribune editor Tim McGuire. “He at all times was an excessive amount of of a booster, and he cherished his Gophers. However he was at all times a newsman.”
Hartman additionally was a frequent critic of girls’s athletics, which he thought lower into expenditures for males’s sports activities at College of Minnesota. “It is archaic,” former Star Tribune sports activities editor Glen Crevier mentioned of Hartman’s perspective in 2009, “however no less than he does not write negatively about them anymore. He simply avoids them.”
Hartman’s son, Chad, adopted his father into sports activities reporting as play-by-play announcer for the Timberwolves and a neighborhood discuss present host.
When his one centesimal birthday column was printed, the Star Tribune put his profession byline depend at 21,149.
The Related Press contributed to this report.