The Baseball Writers Association of America this morning announced Post-Dispatch baseball columnist Rick Hummel as winner of the Spink Award, and with it enshrinement into the writers’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Hummel, 60, received overwhelming support from the association’s membership and becomes the third St. Louis media member to be honored, joining former Post-Dispatch sports editor Bob Broeg and announcer Jack Buck.
Hired by Broeg in 1971, Hummel has reported on the Cardinals since 1973, including 24 seasons as lead beat writer and five as columnist.
"I don’t think you start your career thinking of that," Hummel said about his election. "As you go along, you’re up there at the (Hall's induction) ceremony enough times seeing other people winning, it strikes you as kind of nice. Grantland Rice, Ring Lardner. Jim Murray and Jerome Holtzman are there. Those are pretty good people on the list."
A native of Quincy, Ill., and University of Missouri graduate, "the Commish" covered the Cardinals’ 1982 world championship team and has chronicled two Most Valuable Players, three Rookies of the Year, eight managers and five NL champions. His career has bridged Bob Gibson to Chris Carpenter, Ted Simmons to Albert Pujols, Al Hrabosky to Jason Isringhausen and Red Schoendienst to Tony La Russa.
Hummel distinguished himself not only with his clear writing but also with an ability to maintain relationships at all levels of the sport. At Buck’s urging, he established an easy rapport with umpires. He sought to explain rather than create controversy and along the way gained the trust of players and club executives throughout the industry.
"The people (in St. Louis) are different, too," said Hummel, who for years competed against the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. "You don’t feel compelled to create crisis situations day after day. That’s not what they’re looking for. Would it be different if there were four papers rather than one? Maybe. But people are different here. It’s a more relaxed pace. And there is greater appreciation for the game itself."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Rick Hummell will be inducted into the writer's wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame next summer. We offer our congratulations on the award.