Sid Hartman releases CD of old sports interviewsby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio,
Cathy Wurzer, Minnesota Public Radio
Longtime Star Tribune sports columnist Sid Hartman has released a new CD called "Sid Hartman and his Close Personal Friends--The Lost Tapes." The CD includes Hartman's interviews through the years.
Hartman spoke with MPR's Morning Edition on Monday about the CD, why he's still working at age 89, and how he's become so well-known in the Minnesota sports world.
Q: Tell us about the CD.
A: We started out with Jack Nicklaus on the thing and we finished with (Vince) Lombardi, so we've got some pretty good names on there. And it's kind of a history of sports over that 1950-1960 time period.
Q: You were able to get interviews with newsmakers that other reporters were never able to reach. How were you able to do that?
A: I just either knew somebody who was the subject of the interview, or I knew somebody that knew them. For instance, (sports journalist) Howard Cosell was a good friend of mine and he had some good contacts. He knew the great quarterback for the Jets, Joe Namath, and he helped me get him, and he also knew Muhammad Ali and I was able to get him after a couple of fights, so that's the way it worked. I've got a lot of phone numbers over the years.
Q: What do you like better? Covering the Gophers or professional sports?
A: The Gopher athletics are a lot of fun. You get to know these kids when they come there as freshmen, and you watch them go through their careers and the next thing you know they're in some kind of business or something like that, or they're playing pro sports. And it's really fun watching these kids develop.
Q: You have a really good relationship with former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant. Talk about that.
A: I started my newspaper career about the same time that Bud Grant came down to play football for the Gophers. We just hit it off. I met him the first day he was here. We got to be very good friends, our families are very good friends, and it's gone on for a long, long time. We still see each other all the time and we have a great relationship.
Q: You have had no formal training as a reporter. How did you pick it up?
A: I don't know. I didn't graduate high school and I didn't go to college and all that kind of stuff. One thing I've done, if some guy gave me an interview and stuff like that I'd write him a letter and thank him for it, and I think that made a hit with those guys because not many people do that. They just assume these athletes owe something to the reporter, and I think that's helped me a great deal.
Q: You work hard. You're always at the games before and after.
A: I love what I do. That's the key to my success. If you have a job and you go to work 9-5 and you don't like it, it's hard to do a good job. But I love what I do and that gives me a lot of incentives.
Q: Most people your age are retired. Have you just kept working because you love it so much?
A: That's right. I think if I retired I wouldn't live too long.
- Morning Edition, 12/21/2009, 7:40 a.m.
Elizabeth Dunbar is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.