Pomrenke: The ‘Chicago School’ and the birth of modern baseball writing

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on May 8, 2017:

It ought to come as no surprise that a group of Chicago writers led the way in the formation of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1908. Most of the major innovations in baseball writing originated in the Windy City.

In 1999, Jerome Holtzman was named Major League Baseball’s first official historian by commissioner Bud Selig. Considered the dean of baseball writers after a half century working at Chicago newspapers and authoring the classic oral history of his profession, No Cheering in the Press Box, Holtzman continued a long tradition of Chicago sportswriters who had made their mark covering the National Pastime.

Without Chicago writers, there would be no All-Star Game. It was Chicago Tribune sports editor Arch Ward who came up with the idea and helped organize the first Midsummer Classic at Comiskey Park. There would be no saves recorded by closers at the end of a game. Holtzman himself invented the statistic, which MLB later officially adopted. And there would be no pinch hitters, either. Charles Dryden, a humorist considered to be the “Mark Twain of baseball,” coined that phrase and many others still used today. Another Chicago humorist, Ring Lardner, wrote the first great baseball novel, You Know Me Al, establishing a niche genre of literature that has entertained millions of fans for more than a century.

Read the full article here: https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/chicago-school-and-birth-modern-baseball-writing

Originally published: May 8, 2017. Last Updated: May 8, 2017.