Diggin’ the Dean

The Commissioner of baseball was on hand for the opener of the AL Championship Series, but for some of us, the truly distinguished guest was Jerome Holtzman. Holtzman300

To anybody who wrote baseball during the last two generations in the Midwest, Mr. Holtzman was The Dean of Chicago baseball writers, Midwestern baseball writers, baseball writers, period.  His journalistic credits are nearly too numerous to mention, but to hit the high spots, he has been inducted into the writers? wing of the Hall of Fame, he wrote the defining book on the trade, ?No Cheering in the Press Box,? and he invented the save rule. He is now the official historian of Major League Baseball, and, we are happy to note, a columnist for MLB.com.

Mr. Holtzman was in fine form in the U.S. Cellular Field press box. He is one of the recognized experts on the Black Sox scandal of 1919. Some among the local press have used the White Sox appearance in this postseason to revisit that episode and to once more suggest that maybe Shoeless Joe Jackson wasn?t really guilty. The papers call Mr. Holtzman and he tells them the truth, that all the available evidence points directly to Jackson?s participation in the fix and thus his guilt. So the papers have to call somebody else for a kinder, gentler, less accurate view of this scandal.

?I keep telling them the truth, but they don?t want to hear it,? Mr. Holtzman said.

He hasn?t lost a step. You could take that sentence and frame it around his career. Whether anybody liked it or not, Jerome Holtzman was a truth-teller and still is. As always, it is a privilege to be in the same press box as this gentleman.
Mike Bauman/MLB.com

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