BOTTOM OF THE NINTH

I knew him from a different vantage point. I hired on at the Tribune when Dozer was an established star. I often edited his stories on the copy desk late at night and treated them with the respect I thought they deserved. Later, when the baseball season was over and he came in the office to pull a stint on the copy desk, I got to know him. In watching him edit copy and write headlines, I realized he was a rarity. He was a newspaperman who was equally good both as an inside editor and an outside reporter and writer. He was the total package.

Many newspapermen leave the business and turn bitter. They are convinced things are not being done as well as they used to be. Dick was never that way. He went to work here for a time with both the Phoenix Gazette and the Mesa Tribune writing baseball stories during spring training.

Most sportswriters and old ballplayers quit going to baseball games when their own careers end. They insist the game has changed and is no longer as interesting as it once was. Dick wasn't that way. He did not have a cynical bone in his body.

In fact, he even went to work as a volunteer for the Ho Ho Kams in Mesa, working for free as a volunteer usher at the Cubs' spring-training games.

And whenever you went to the Suns' games, you could spot Dick and Flo in their aisle seats. They never missed a game.

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