Sid Hartman Wiki – Biography
Sid Hartman was an American sports journalist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the WCCO 830 AM radio station. For 20 years, he was also a panelist on the weekly television program Sports Show with Mike Max, which aired Sunday nights at 9:30 p.m. on WUCW 23 in the Twin Cities metro area. He continued writing for the Star Tribune until his death in 2020.
In 1941, he lost his Tribune news run when the Des Moines newspaper magnate John Cowles Sr. bought the Tribune Company. For a brief time, Hartman became a vacuum salesman, but the occupation did not suit him. In his autobiography, Hartman conceded that he was “the world’s worst vacuum cleaner salesman. After Pearl Harbor, Hartman attempted to enlist in the United States military during World War II but was rejected because of his asthma.
In the early 1940s, Hartman got a key break from Louie Mohs, the circulation manager of the Minneapolis Times. Mohs gave him the Times news run for downtown Minneapolis, which paid well and got Hartman out of the vacuum business. In 1944 Hartman got an even bigger break when Mohs recommended him to Times sports editor and columnist Dick Cullum, who was looking for a sports desk intern. Cullum hired Hartman, the beginning of a sports writing career that would last over 75 years.
As a 27-year-old in 1947, Hartman became the acting general manager of the Minneapolis Lakers. Hartman helped build what would become the first dynasty in the NBA.
Sid Hartman Age
Sid Hartman has died at the age of 100-years-old.
Family & Siblings
Hartman was born at Maternity Hospital on Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 15, 1920. He grew up in a Jewish family in north Minneapolis. His father, Jack Hechtman, was born in Russia and immigrated to the United States at age 16, changing his name to Hartman after he arrived. Sid Hartman’s mother, Celia Weinberg, immigrated to the United States from Latvia at age nine. Both of his parents died in 1972.
Jack Hartman could neither read nor write and suffered from alcoholism. He made his living by driving a delivery truck, primarily making furniture deliveries. Celia Hartman owned an apparel store on the north side of Minneapolis and also did the bookkeeping for Jack Hartman’s delivery business. The family moved frequently, living first at a home on Aldrich Avenue, then at a home on Humboldt Avenue, and later at homes in the 700 block of Irving Avenue.
Sid Hartman attended Talmud Torah Jewish School from age 10 to 14, before enrolling at Minneapolis North High School. He began selling newspapers at age 9. As a teenager, he developed the use of newspaper boxes, where customers would pay for newspapers on the honor system by leaving coins in a change box.
Sid Hartman attended Minneapolis North High School but dropped out his junior year when he received a lucrative news run for delivering the Minneapolis Tribune.
The iconic figure appreciated his career, because he appreciated where he came from. Hartman was a high school dropout who persevered.
“I quit high school in 10th grade when I got a job in circulation,” Hartman said. “I’m just lucky, that’s all.”
Before long, he started writing for the paper, and over the next eight decades his columns became must-reads. His relentless pursuit of scoops, both big and small, became the stuff of legend.
He also helped run the Minneapolis Lakers, and they won titles, eventually becoming the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hartman’s impact on the sports world cannot be overstated. Athletes, coaches and executives alike remember his ability to build and maintain relationships. His career and personal life blended into one. The people he covered became his friends because they learned Hartman was on their side. One of those athletes was legendary Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton.
Wife & Children
Hartman married Barbara Balfour in 1964. They later divorced in 1972. Hartman’s son Chad Hartman also has a radio show on WCCO. He also had an adopted daughter, Chris Schmitt.
Cause of Death
Legendary Minnesota sports journalist Sid Hartman has died. He was 100 years old.
Hartman’s son, Chad Hartman of WCCO Radio, announced his father’s death Sunday afternoon, saying that his father’s “extraordinary and resilient life has come to a peaceful conclusion surrounded by his family.”
Hartman’s newspaper and radio offerings were gospel for most of his 100 years on this earth. He was passionate, relentless and one of the major reasons why Minnesota is a major league state — and he did it the old fashioned way.
My father’s extraordinary and resilient life has come to a peaceful conclusion surrounded by his family.
— Chad Hartman (@ChadHartmanShow) October 18, 2020
In December 2016, Hartman was hospitalized in Minneapolis after falling and breaking his right hip. He underwent surgery to repair his hip the following day. As a result, Hartman announced his columns would be placed on hiatus. He returned to work on January 13, 2017, attending the news conference for new Gophers football coach PJ Fleck.
Hartman turned 100 in March 2020. He had 21,149 bylines by that time. He died later that year on October 18. The final column written by him was published by the Star Tribune that same day and involved a discussion with Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.
“He’s the greatest journalist, most honest, forthcoming journalist, sports journalist that I’ve ever know,” Tarkenton said. “He could get an interview with anybody.”
He was honored again and again because of that, including by Minnesota Twins icon Rod Carew.
“He’s my buddy. He’s the only guy that I trusted when I was [in Minnesota], that I could talk to and not worry about it,” Carew said.
Hartman say the biggest thrill of his gargantuan career was getting to honor a Minnesota sports legend.
“The one thing I’ll always remember is introducing [former Vikings coach] Bud Grant at the [Pro Football] Hall of Fame,” Hartman said.
Grant was indeed a “very close, personal friend” of Hartman.
“You’re lucky if you got a best friend. I’m the luckiest guy in the world because Sid came into my life, and we’ve been best friends since 1945,” Grant said.
When he was 61, Hartman started the Sports Huddle on WCCO Radio with co-host Dave Mona. The weekly sports show became a staple for sports fans, and lasted 40 years on air.
“Your version of what’s old changes as you age along the way, but [when I started working with Hartman I thought], ‘This guy is 61 years old, how much longer can he keep going?’” Mona said.
On March 15, 2020, he turned 100 years old. He celebrated on WCCO Radio. Because of COVID-19, it would be his last radio broadcast.
“It’s a very different feeling [turning 100]. I survived it, that’s the most important thing,” Hartman said.
He did more than survive — he thrived. He took a tough upbringing and turned it into a career that we have never seen, and probably never will again. He was the best at his craft because of tenacity and longevity. He kept going, living a life that exceeded his expectations, because he worked so hard for that life, every day.
Even when you disagreed with Hartman, you could not help but like him. He was an original, and he will never be forgotten.
According to The Star Tribune, Hartman wrote more than 21,000 bylined stories over his career. His last column appeared in Sunday’s Sports section. It was Hartman’s 119th column of 2020.
Greg Mees, the Star Tribune’s design director, previewed Monday’s sports section Sunday night on Twitter.
Goodbye to our close personal friend.