November 1, 2004


His Career Touched 'Em All (Ross Newhan, November 1, 2004, LA Times)

For the record, I made my official debut covering baseball April 11, 1961, coinciding with the official debut of the expansion Angels, who defeated the Orioles, 7-2, at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium as Ted Kluszewski hit two home runs, Bob Cerv hit one and Eli Grba pitched a complete game, which was soon to become a threatened species.

The late Irv Kaze, then the club's publicist, celebrated the auspicious start by treating reporters to champagne at their Baltimore hotel, and Gene Autry, during a long search to recapture the high, would always call that victory his favorite moment as owner.

If my ensuing 44 years on the baseball beat were not nearly as innocent, if cynicism and dispassion inevitably intruded on my approach and coverage, it has been a grand-slam ride that I am now bringing to a close.

My byline will appear periodically in The Times next year, but not as the senior baseball columnist. I am handing the reins to Tim Brown, who is eminently qualified, having most recently spent several seasons chronicling the soap opera known as the Lakers.

A longtime New York reporter named Leonard Schecter wrote in his book "The Jocks" that he knew it was time to get off the baseball beat when he had memorized the menu at the Minute Chef in Cleveland.

I have outlasted the Minute Chef, but not before devouring enough postgame cheeseburgers in Cleveland and elsewhere — I always thought it was a job requirement — to fuel a quintuple bypass, the cardiac equivalent of hitting for the cycle.

That was eight years ago, and I have finally decided to ease the stress of deadlines, SigAlerts, security lines, amped-up PA systems at the Angel Stadium and Dodger Stadium rock halls, and another foreboding and fast-approaching labor negotiation.

Nice that he made it long enough to see his son, David, have an extraordinary rookie season for the Orioles.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 1, 2004 9:04 AM
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