By Chris Carr
The question isn’t whether Sid Hartman deserves to be in the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame because of what he’s accomplished. The question is will Sid still achieve Hall-worthy success in years to come?
The unstoppable newspaperman and iconic radio voice who predates, well, almost all of Minnesota’s sports history, still works nearly every day — early mornings, late nights and all things sports in between. And good luck finding anyone who watches him go about his business, day after day after day, who thinks this won’t continue into next year, when he will turn 99 in March, and beyond.
And while we watch Sid continue to make history, we’ll also stop to recognize a career that mirrors no other. Sid will be inducted into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 24, during the Minnesota Sports Awards at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame was relaunched by the Star Tribune last month after a dozen dormant years. The news company will create an online destination for the Hall in 2019 and return to annual inductions. There are 72 members of the Hall, none quite like Sid.
“As he rounds the corner toward his 99th birthday, he is as relentless as ever pursuing news,” said Glen Crevier, Sid’s sports editor for the past two decades at the Star Tribune. “His impact on the Minnesota sports scene is as great as any athlete he ever covered.”
Sid, born in north Minneapolis on March 15, 1920, transcends both sports and journalism, having become a one-name icon in the state sometime midcareer, alongside Harmon and Bud and Kirby and Lindsay. He has been a columnist, an editor, a WCCO radio man, a power broker, even a team executive with the Minneapolis Lakers and franchise dealmaker. Pretty good for a guy who started in the business selling newspapers at two-cent-profits a pop as a 9-year-old.
“Sid has seen it all in Minnesota sports. And he has done it all, too,” Crevier said. “As a columnist, Sid has a unique voice. He’s never been about criticizing athletes or coaches. Instead, he prefers to reach important newsmakers and let them tell their stories. This is his winning formula.”
One of the most memorable “Sidisms” is referring to another big shot in sports as a “close personal friend.” There will be several CPFs in attendance later this month, when Sid becomes the 73rd inductee and sole member of the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
“I think I covered every one of them,” Sid said Thursday after hearing the news and reading over the Hall names. “I really appreciate this.”
Joel Rippel is on the Star Tribune sports editing team, and he recently took on the daunting task of checking Sid’s stats. Sid’s byline started appearing in earlier incarnations of the Star Tribune in the 1940s, and early next year, right around that 99th birthday, he will eclipse 21,000 bylines.
That’s an astonishing number of news stories and game reports and columns — and, as Sid knows, an astonishing amount of copy editing.