Born: 1926, in Chicago, Illinois
Died: July 19, 2008
Jerome Holtzman, the Chicago baseball “beat” writer, covering
the Windy City’s Cubs and White Sox for 28 years, was recipient
of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 1989, symbolizing election to the writer’s
wing of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Holzman began his Chicago (Illinois-USA) newspaper career in 1943, covering sports
for the Chicago Sun-Times (Daily Times). He wrote for the Sun-Times
for 38 years,
and Chicago Tribune from 1981 until retirement in January 2000, whereby
appointed Major League Baseball’s first official historian.
The “dean of America’s baseball writers”was a weekly contributor
to The Sporting News for 30 baseball seasons, his byline appearing in
more than 1,000 consecutive issues of TSN. He also authored the 20,000-word chapter
baseball that appears in the Encyclopedia Britannica, and for many years
the summary of each Major League season for the Official Baseball Guide.
Bothered by inequities in prevailing statistics that failed to provide “an
accurate index of effectiveness” for relief pitchers, Holtzman created
the “save” statistic in 1960. The unique formula appeared as a non-official
stat in the weekly The Sporting News, until 1966, when MLB adopted it
as an official
statistic. The “save” was the first new vital statistic adopted by
MLB since the RBI (run batted in) in 1920. Holzman was tabbed “the patron
saint of the bullpen”.
Jerry Holtzman has authored nine books, all on baseball. Most celebrated is No
Cheering in the Press Box, published in 1974, and re-issued in 1995 with
additional chapters. In 2003, No Cheering was named ‘one the best
books ever written’ by Sports Illustrated.
Holtzman, who served as national president of the Baseball Writers Association
of America (BWAA), was recipient of the prestigious Red Smith Award in 1997 ‘for
contributions to sports journalism’. In 1996, he was named “Chicago
Press Veteran of the Year”, and in 2002, he received the Ring Lardner Award
from the Chicago Athletic Association.