Legendary Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman dies at 100
Legendary Minneapolis Star Tribune sportswriter Sid Hartman died Sunday at age 100.
Hartman’s son Chad delivered the news with a post on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
My father’s extraordinary and resilient life has come to a peaceful conclusion surrounded by his family.— Chad Hartman (@ChadHartmanShow) October 18, 2020
Hartman was born in Minneapolis on March 15, 1920.
According to the Star Tribune, he began selling papers in 1928. He later dropped out of Minneapolis North High school to take a job with the paper in 1936. He stayed on the job for the next 84 years.
The paper tallies 21,235 bylines with Hartman’s name on them including 119 in 2020 – the year he turned 100 in March.
His first column appeared in 1944. His last was published the morning of his passing. He also was a longtime host on WCCO Radio and featured on the 20-year-run of "The Sports Show" on Sunday nights.
Hartman’s impact on the Minnesota sports scene went beyond his writing. In 1947, he helped the Minneapolis Lakers join the National Basketball Association, serving as the team’s general manager for a while.
Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor gave Hartman credit for his role in establishing the Twin Cities’ first NBA franchise and noted his prolific career as a sports journalist, which included over 21,000 bylines in the Star Tribune.
"Sid will always be a staple amongst Minnesota sports and even more so in the basketball community, helping shape what many consider the NBA’s first dynasty with the Minneapolis Lakers," Taylor said. "I will always remember Sid for his will, determination, and the upbeat spirit with which he lived his life."
The Lakers left for Los Angeles in 1960, but two new franchises, the Twins and the Vikings, found a home at Metropolitan Stadium the next year. Hartman was a constant for both teams across their first 60 years of existence.
In a statement, Vikings co-owners Mark and Zygi Wilf remembered Hartman as "an iconic sports figure, a tenacious reporter and a tireless advocate for his beloved state."
"His doggedness and work ethic were unmatched, but it was Sid’s ability to nurture relationships that truly set him apart," they added. "He was a confidant and a loyal friend to countless athletes and coaches across the country."
The Twins issued a statement on Hartman’s death, which stated in part:
“The Minnesota Twins today mourn the passing of Sid Hartman, while also celebrating his extraordinary life, his immeasurable contributions to our state’s sports scene, and his enduring impact on generations of Minnesotans. Sid was truly a one-of-a-kind personality, and his constant presence at the ballpark – which spanned the press boxes and clubhouses of Metropolitan Stadium, the Metrodome and Target Field – will be missed by so many.
“His endless drive to share sports stories across our region was unmatched, as was the deep trust he endeared in athletes, coaches, management and the public alike. This enviable combination, along with a work ethic, competitiveness and resilience that never wavered, allowed Sid to gather and report stories that no one else could have captured. Sid’s commitment to, and passion for, covering Minnesota sports was a true privilege to fans across our state."
The Minnesota Wild also mourned Hartman’s passing, saying, "No one worked harder and loved his job the way Sid did. He was a legend that will be greatly missed."
Golden Gophers athletics was a constant across all eight decades of Hartman’s career. University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle issued the following statement:
"Sid covered the University of Minnesota for more than 70 years and did so with skill and fairness. He had a unique way of building longstanding and rusting relationships and was able to walk into any office or stadium unannounced and get the interview.
"Few individuals have impacted Gopher Athletics like Sid, and I will miss our visits and conversations. We will mourn his loss, but we will also celebrate his life. Sid was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed. I extend our sympathies to his family and loved ones."
His impact as a reporter was felt not just in Minnesota, but in the sports world at large.
In a statement, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred called Hartman "a singular figure of the Minnesota sports scene throughout the entire history of the Twins franchise."
“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest sympathy to Sid’s family, friends, readers and all Minnesotans," Manfred added.
Bud Selig, who was the commissioner of the MLB from 1998-2015, said Hartman was "a legendary figure in Minneapolis and the Midwest."
“I am terribly saddened by the passing of the great Sid Hartman," Selig said in a statement. "He was a newspaperman through and through and will be remembered as a giant throughout his profession.
Stay with KSTP and KSTP.com for more on Sid Hartman’s life and impact on the Minnesota sports scene