ST. LOUIS – Renowned sports writer and columnist Rick Hummel, who recently retired from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after more than five decades covering baseball, dead over the weekend.
Hummel died peacefully in his sleep early Saturday morning at his St. Louis-area home, following a short illness. He was 77.
His wife, Melissa, told the Post-Dispatch he’d kept score of Friday night’s Cardinals game.
In 2007, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America honored Hummel with its Career Excellence Award (formerly known as the J. G. Taylor Spink Award), for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” His name and writing is forever recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. called Hummel “one of the best and most respected baseball writers of his or any era.”
“It was always a pleasure to see Rick in St. Louis, where the loyal baseball fans enjoyed his work for more than half a century, and at our Jewel Events. In an amazing demonstration of professionalism and longevity, Rick covered 42 consecutive All-Star Games,” Manfred said. “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of ‘The Commish,’ his readers, Cardinals fans, and his many friends across our game.”
Hummel, nicknamed “The Commish” by colleagues for his years of presiding over an American Professional Baseball Association board game, was inducted in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, and was named Missouri Sportswriter of the Year on three occasions.
Hummel was born in Quincy, Illinois, on Feb. 25, 1946. He briefly attended Quincy University in his hometown before transferring to the University of Missouri and enrolled in its School of Journalism. After graduating in 1968, Hummel served three years in the Army.
The Post-Dispatch hired Hummel in 1971. Hummel covered the St. Louis Stars soccer team, the Spirit of St. Louis of the ABA, and college sports. He finally got the chance to cover the Cardinals in 1973, albeit eight home games.
Hummel was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for a series of stories about former shortstop Garry Templeton.
His colleagues at the BBWAA elected him president of the organization in 1994, following in the footsteps of St. Louis sports writers Jack Herman, Bob Broeg, Martin J. Haley, J. Roy Stockton, and James M. Gould.
Hummel worked as the Post-Dispatch‘s game-day reporter until 2002, when he slowly moved into the role of weekly sports columnist. He retired after the Cardinals’ 2022 season, but contributed to the May 1 obituary for beloved Cardinals player and broadcaster Mike Shannon.
“He was a giant in his profession who never made others feel small,” Post-Dispatch sports columnist Ben Frederickson wrote.
Former FOX 2 sportscaster Charlie Marlow praised Hummel as a tremendous sports writer but even finer human being.
“Holy hell what a loss. … One of the nicest people you could ever meet. Damn. RIP Commish,” he wrote.
The Cardinals press box at Busch Stadium was named in honor of both Hummel and Broeg, who brought Hummel on at the Post-Dispatch all those years ago.
Adam Wainwright, now in his final season with the Cardinals, said Hummel was “always fair” and “always in a good mood.”
The outpouring of love and respect for The Commish extended beyond St. Louis. Derrick Goold, lead Cardinals writer for the Post-Dispatch, tweeted a picture from Great American Ballpark ahead of Monday night’s Cardinals-Reds game, showing reservations for both Hummel and Mike Shannon at the stadium press box.