Jerome Holtzman

Jerome Holtzman (July 12, 1926[1] – July 19, 2008) was an American sportswriter known for his writings on baseball who served as the official historian for Major League Baseball from 1999 until his death.

Jerome Holtzman
BornJuly 12, 1926
DiedJuly 19, 2008 (aged 82)

Newspaper career

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Holtzman wrote for his hometown papers for over 50 years. Beginning as a copyboy at the Chicago Daily News in 1943, Holtzman wrote for the paper through its merger with the Chicago Sun. His influence and viewpoints made him something of a legend among newspapermen. Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard, who was sports editor of the Sun-Times for part of Holtzman's career, called him "the dean of American baseball writers," and went on to say "He never smiled, but he had the keys to Cooperstown. No major leaguer ever got into the Hall of Fame if Holtzman didn't want him there. He had tremendous sources. He was writing about the possibility of a baseball players union and a baseball players strike long before anyone else."[2] Holtzman left the Sun-Times in 1981 for the Chicago Tribune, remaining there until his retirement in 1999.[3]

Holtzman was awarded the 1991 J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). He was honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors in 1997, who awarded him the Red Smith Award, which is America's most prestigious sports writing honor. He was elected to the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 2004 and the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

Among Holtzman's contributions to the game during his career was the creation of the save statistic in 1959. It was adopted as an official statistic for the 1969 season, the first official new statistic since the run batted in (RBI) in 1920.[1]

On July 15, 2008, Holtzman suffered a stroke in Evanston, Illinois, and died on July 19.[4]

Official historian

In 1999, Holtzman retired as a newspaper writer and was named the official historian of Major League Baseball. He wrote occasional columns on the website.[3] In 2001, Holtzman decided to revert to counting walks in 1887 as hits, reviving an old debate; 1887 was the only season in which walks were counted as hits, an experiment which proved unpopular, but Holtzman took the point of view that once something is counted as a hit it must always remain so. Revised statistics appeared in the seventh edition of Total Baseball, then the official encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. The move has been criticized (and largely ignored) by most other baseball historians.


Holtzman wrote or edited more than a dozen books, including No Cheering in the Press Box, a collection of interviews with 18 sportswriters that was published in 1974. A revised edition in 1995 added interviews with six new subjects. Among his other notable books are The Commissioners, which contained biographies of baseball's commissioners and a history of the office, and Baseball Chicago Style, a history of the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox.


  1. ^ a b Bruce Weber (2008-07-22). "Jerome Holtzman, 82, 'Dean' of Sportswriters, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
  2. ^ If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet To The Ground. Lewis Grizzard. p. 319. ISBN 0-345-37270-0
  3. ^ a b Hal Bodley (2008-07-22). "Holtzman, a great friend and mentor". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
  4. ^ Paul Sullivan (2008-07-21). "Baseball Hall-of-Famer Jerome Holtzman dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-07-23.

External links

300 save club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 300 save club is the group of pitchers who have recorded 300 or more regular-season saves in their careers. Most commonly a relief pitcher ("reliever" or "closer") earns a save by being the final pitcher of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and pitching at least one inning without losing the lead. The final pitcher of a game can earn a save by getting at least one batter out to end the game with the winning run on base, at bat, or on deck, or by pitching the last three innings without relinquishing the lead, regardless of score.

The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official statistic by MLB in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for past pitchers where applicable. Hoyt Wilhelm retired in 1972 and recorded just 31 saves from 1969 onwards, for example, but holds 227 total career saves.Mariano Rivera holds the MLB save record with 652. Only Rivera and Trevor Hoffman have exceeded 500 or 600 saves, and Hoffman was the first to achieve either. Rivera, Hoffman, Lee Smith, Francisco Rodríguez, John Franco, and Billy Wagner are the only pitchers to have recorded 400 or more saves. Rollie Fingers was the first player to record 300 saves, reaching the mark on April 21, 1982. Craig Kimbrel is the most recent, achieving his 300th on May 5, 2018. In total, 29 players have recorded 300 or more saves in their career. Only eight relievers – Dennis Eckersley, Fingers, Goose Gossage, Hoffman, Rivera, Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Wilhelm – have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; all but Wilhelm also have at least 300 saves. Kimbrel and Fernando Rodney are the only active players with more than 300 saves, and Kimbrel is the active leader with 334.

Al Barlick

Albert Joseph Barlick (April 2, 1915 – December 27, 1995) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the National League for 28 seasons (1940–43, 1946–55, 1958–71). Barlick missed two seasons (1944–45) due to service in the United States Coast Guard and two seasons (1956–57) due to heart problems. He umpired seven World Series and seven All-Star Games.

Barlick was known for a strong voice and for booming strike calls. After he left active umpiring in 1971, Barlick became an umpire scout and supervisor. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.

Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times is a daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group, with the 2nd biggest circulation in Chicago.

Closer (baseball)

In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer (abbreviated CL), is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were referred to as a fireman, short reliever, and stopper. A small number of closers have won the Cy Young Award. Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm are closers who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

DHL Hometown Heroes

DHL Hometown Heroes was a 2006 promotional event, sponsored by shipping company DHL, where Major League Baseball (MLB) fans were encouraged to vote for the most outstanding player in the history of each MLB franchise.

Fans were asked to vote for the most outstanding player in the history of each MLB franchise, based on on-field performance, leadership quality and character value. The candidates for the ballot were chosen by the clubs themselves, in conjunction with a blue-ribbon panel of baseball experts, journalists, and historians. The award winners were then chosen, over two months of voting, in a process similar to MLB all-star voting. Votes were cast by fans at every MLB ballpark, as well as online and via cell-phone. In all, nearly 17 million votes were cast.

On September 27, 2006 MLB announced a list of winning players, one from each team.

Of the players awarded, Nolan Ryan was the only player to win the award for two different teams: the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers.

Three of the honored players were true "hometown heroes" in the sense of starring with MLB teams in or near their actual hometowns. Ryan grew up from infancy in the Houston suburb of Alvin, Texas. Cal Ripken Jr., chosen by Baltimore Orioles fans, was born in Havre de Grace and grew up in Aberdeen, towns in Harford County, Maryland within 45 minutes' drive of Baltimore. Pete Rose, chosen by Cincinnati Reds fans, was born and raised in Cincinnati. (Note that although Jackie Robinson, selected by Los Angeles Dodgers fans, grew up in Pasadena, California, he never played for the franchise in Los Angeles. His entire MLB career was with the Brooklyn Dodgers.)

Dick Bertell

Richard George Bertell (November 21, 1935 – December 20, 1999) was a right-handed professional baseball catcher who played Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants from 1960 to 1967. Although he was a light hitter offensively, he had a strong arm, throwing out 47.74% of the base runners who tried steal on him, ranking him fourth on the all-time list.

Ford Frick

Ford Christopher Frick (December 19, 1894 – April 8, 1978) was an American sportswriter and baseball executive. After working as a teacher and as a sportswriter for the New York American, he served as public relations director of the National League (NL), then as the league's president from 1934 to 1951. He was the third Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1951 to 1965.

While Frick was NL president, he had a major role in the establishment of the Baseball Hall of Fame as a museum that honors the best players in baseball history. He extinguished threats of a player strike in response to the racial integration of the major leagues. During Frick's term as commissioner, expansion occurred and MLB faced the threat of having its antitrust exemption revoked by Congress. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1970. The Ford C. Frick Award recognizes outstanding MLB broadcasters.

J. G. Taylor Spink Award

The J. G. Taylor Spink Award is the highest award given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The award was instituted in 1962 and named after J. G. Taylor Spink, publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 to 1962, who was also the first recipient. The recipient does not have to be a member of the BBWAA, but every recipient from the award's inception through 2013 had been a BBWAA member at some time; the first recipient to have never have been a member was 2014 recipient Roger Angell.The Spink Award is presented at the induction festivities of the Baseball Hall of Fame in the year following the selection of the recipient. Through 2010, the award was presented during the actual induction ceremony; since then, it has been presented at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation, held the day before the induction ceremony. In recent years, the Hall of Fame has announced the finalists for the award and final vote totals. Previously, the results were kept secret.

Winners are not considered to be members of the Hall. They are not "inducted" or "enshrined", but are permanently recognized in an exhibit at the Hall's library. For several years in the early 2000s, Spink Award honorees became life members of the Veterans Committee, which elects players whose eligibility for BBWAA consideration has ended, and is also the sole body that elects non-players for induction into the Hall. Starting with elections for induction in 2008, voting on the main Veterans Committee, which then selected only players whose careers began in 1943 or later, was restricted to Hall of Fame members. After further changes announced for the 2011 and 2017 elections, Spink Award winners are eligible to serve on all of the era-based voting bodies that replaced the Veterans Committee (three from 2011 to 2016, and four from 2017 forward).

Among the well-known Spink Award winners are Fred Lieb, Shirley Povich, Jerome Holtzman, Ring Lardner, Wendell Smith, Sam Lacy, and Peter Gammons.

Joe Oeschger

Joseph Carl Oeschger (May 24, 1892 – July 28, 1986) was an American pitcher in Major League Baseball who played 12 seasons from 1914 to 1925. After starting his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Oeschger was traded to the New York Giants. He was soon traded to the Boston Braves, where he pitched his best seasons.

Oeschger is best known for holding the MLB record for the most innings pitched in a single game (26). In 1920, both Oeschger and Leon Cadore of the Brooklyn Robins pitched 26 innings for their respective teams in a game that was eventually called a tie due to darkness.He played out the rest of his career for the New York Giants before retiring in San Francisco. Never appearing in a World Series over his career he had 83 wins and 116 defeats. In San Francisco he was a teacher for the San Francisco Board of Education for 27 years.

John McSherry

John Patrick McSherry (September 11, 1944 – April 1, 1996) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the National League from 1971 until his death. McSherry wore uniform number 9 when he entered the National League, then wore number 10 from 1979 through the rest of his career. A respected arbiter, he was one of several umpires who were noticeably overweight. McSherry was officially listed at 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) and 328 pounds (149 kg), but some sources placed his true weight close to 400 pounds (180 kg). His weight may have been a major factor in causing his sudden death due to cardiac arrest, which occurred behind home plate during the opening game of the 1996 Major League Baseball season in Cincinnati on April 1, 1996.

John Thorn

John Thorn (born April 17, 1947) is a sports historian, author, publisher, and cultural commentator. Since March 1, 2011, he has been the Official Baseball Historian for Major League Baseball.

List of Major League Baseball annual saves leaders

The following is a list of annual leaders in saves in Major League Baseball (MLB), with separate lists for the American League and the National League. The list also includes several professional leagues and associations that were never part of MLB.

In baseball, a save is credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under prescribed circumstances. Most commonly a relief pitcher ("reliever") earns a save by entering in the ninth inning of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and finishing the game by pitching one inning without losing the lead. The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an MLB official statistic in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for pitchers before that date.

MLB recognizes the player or players in each league with the most saves each season. In retrospect, the five saves by Jack Manning meant he led the National League in its inaugural year, while Bill Hoffer was the American League's first saves champion with three. Mordecai Brown was the first pitcher to record at least 10 saves in a season. Dan Quisenberry, Bruce Sutter, Firpo Marberry, and Ed Walsh are the only pitchers to lead the league in saves five times (though Marberry and Walsh did so before 1969). Sutter is also tied with Harry Wright, Dan Quisenberry and Craig Kimbrel for the most consecutive seasons leading the league in saves with four.

Mark Gilbert

Mark David Gilbert (born August 22, 1956) is a former outfielder in Major League Baseball who served as the United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa from 2015 to 2017.Gilbert played for the Chicago White Sox in 1985. Subsequently, he had a career as an investment banker.

In 2013, United States President Barack Obama nominated Gilbert to be United States Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. The U.S. Senate confirmed Gilbert on December 12, 2014.

Paul Zahniser

Paul Vernon Zahniser (September 6, 1896 – September 26, 1964) was an American professional baseball pitcher. He played for three different teams over his five season Major League Baseball career, which spanned from 1923 to 1929.

Ray Kelly (sportswriter)

Raymond Kelly (January 24, 1914 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States – November 22, 1988 in Philadelphia) was a sportswriter who worked 50 years for the Philadelphia Bulletin. He covered the Philadelphia Athletics from 1948 to 1955 and the Philadelphia Phillies from 1956 until he retired in 1979.

A president of both the Philadelphia and national chapters of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Kelly was a posthumous recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award at the 1989 induction ceremonies at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The Philadelphia Old Timers' Soccer Association inducted Kelly into its Hall of Fame in 1985.

He died at age 74 at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia and was cremated.

Red Smith Award

The Red Smith Award is awarded by the Associated Press Sports Editors for outstanding contributions to sports journalism. It has been awarded annually at the APSE convention since 1981. Unlike many journalism awards, it is open to both writers and editors.

The Smith Award is traditionally announced in April and the winner receives the award in June at the annual APSE convention.

Save (baseball)

In baseball, a save (abbreviated SV or S) is credited to a pitcher who finishes a game for the winning team under certain prescribed circumstances, described below. The number of saves, or percentage of save opportunities successfully converted, is an oft-cited statistic of relief pitchers, particularly those in the closer role. It became an official Major League Baseball (MLB) statistic in 1969. Mariano Rivera is MLB's all-time leader in regular season saves with 652.

Tom Gorman (umpire)

Thomas David Gorman (March 16, 1919 – August 11, 1986) was an American pitcher and umpire in Major League Baseball who pitched five innings in four games for the New York Giants in 1939, and went on to serve as a National League umpire from 1951 to 1976 and then as a league supervisor. His son Brian has been a major league umpire since 1991 and wears the same uniform number 9 the elder Gorman wore after the NL began adding numbers to umpire uniforms in 1970.

Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award


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