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Hall of Fame baseball writer Rick Hummel dies at 77

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Hummel is known as “The Commish” to those who had the pleasure of working with him over the course of the past half-century. For many in the Midwest, Hummel’s coverage of St. Louis Cardinals baseball stood above the rest.

Hummel died Saturday at the age of 77 after a short, aggressive illness. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, where Hummel worked on the Cardinals beat for 51 years, was the first to report Hummel’s death.

Hummel retired from the Post-Dispatch after last season. He continued to cover baseball for the newspaper on a part-time basis and was the baseball columnist for Sportsnaut since February. His last column appeared in Sportsnaut on Saturday.

“No words can truly convey the sense of loss we all feel,” said Sportsnaut Executive Editor Larry Starks, who served as Assistant Managing Editor/Sports at the Post-Dispatch from 2001-07. “For those of us who got to work with Commish, there are few people you will find who were as professional, as gentlemanly, as kind, as giving. This is a true loss for the baseball community.”

This is a feeling that reverberates through the MLB community as the death of an absolute legend of the industry is mourned.

“What really comes through is his love of the game. If you’re only doing it to make a living, it’s not as deep as if you do it and you love it. Commish loves the game,” former Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said in 2006.

Born in Quincy, Illinois, in 1946, Hummel graduated from Quincy Senior High School. He attended Quincy University before ultimately attending the University of Missouri.

After college, Hummel spent three years in the United States Army. While stationed in Colorado Springs, Hummel worked as a part-time employee for the Colorado Springs Free Press-Sun.

In 1971, he was able to land a job with the Post-Dispatch. Initially, that was to cover regional teams such as the St. Louis Stars soccer organization before getting his big break to start covering the Cardinals in 1973. That included an eight-game stint on the beat.

One of Hummel’s early-career memories came when he covered Tom Seaver’s only career no-hitter, a 4-0 victory for the Cincinnati Reds over the Cardinals in 1978.

The legend that is Rick Hummel: Respect and love for the sport

rick hummel dies at 77
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Hummel was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. The press box at Busch Stadium in St. Louis is named after him and the man who helped Hummel land his job at the Post-Dispatch, fellow Missouri grad and former Post-Dispatch sports editor, Bob Broeg.

For many around the Cardinals’ baseball scene and the broader MLB world, Hummel’s love for the sport and professionalism was one of his defining traits. Ten years of his tenure covering the Cardinals included former manager Whitey Herzog. Like everyone else, he didn’t have a bad word to say about “The Commish.”

“I love being with people who love their job, and he certainly does,” Herzog said. “He loves the game, he’s very knowledgeable. I couldn’t have had a better beat writer for those 10 years, I was very fortunate to have him as my beat writer. If he would call, I’d return it as soon as I could. To this day, if Rick Hummel calls I call him right back,” Herzog once said about Rick Hummel.

Hummel reported on 35 World Series and covered 41 MLB All-Star Games. He wrote on roughly 7,000 MLB games. This goes to show us the true commitment he had to the game he loved.

Rick Hummel is survived by a son and two daughters. His ex-wife Connie Karr, the mother of one of his children, was among five people murdered during the Kirkwood City Council shooting in Missouri in 2008.