Sid’s first job evaluation: See how much, or how little, changed between 1945 and 2020
Choosing which line is most delightful on the document below, believed to be Sid Hartman’s first job evaluation, is like choosing your favorite Sid story. Too many good ones. Can’t do it.
“’Just let me dig up news ...” “I like my job.” “Best news hound I have ever had ...” Remember, this is his first evaluation, not one from his 20th or 10th or even second year. Sid’s 25 here, a rookie. “Can’t write much.” That’s an LOL. “Knows more people ...” Spoiler: Later, they’ll become close personal friends. “Hours mean nothing to him.” And then there’s this one, the last one, the one I keep reading over and over: “Hope he never gets discouraged.”
What’s the best line in Tribune sports editor Charlie Johnson’s review of his young hustler?
“ ‘Just let me dig up news and get it into print’ — that’s just amazing,” said Glen Crevier, Sid’s sports editor for two decades. “Honestly, Chris, if you wrote his eval last month you would have written the same thing as Charlie did in 1945.”
We believe this 8 ½-by-11-inch treasure is from June 2, 1945, less than a year after Sid’s first newspaper byline. Crevier is right: So much of this review speaks to who Sid was in 2020 and the 75 years prior.
I showed Sid’s review to Michelle Mueller, our senior vice president of human resources. She got a kick out of it.
“This may have been the right way to do an evaluation in 1944,” she said with a smile. “This would not be the best practice for 2020. However, it is an honest assessment throughout his career.”
Sid knew exactly what he wanted to do. He was born with reporter DNA, and he had the full double helix version starting in his pinkie toe and twisting all the up way to his fantastic head of silver hair. And he somehow knew this early in life. In the early 1940s, he called his shot. He Babe Ruth’ed the whole thing. Pointed at the fence, swung, and hit his pitch out of the park for 75 years.
“Journalism changed, but he never did,” Crevier said. “He never needed to become a better writer. He never said, ‘I need to work on my prose.’ He wanted to write three-dot columns, to get the news and tell people what’s happening. And that’s what he did, undiscouraged — for his entire life.”
‘DOT AND DASH’
Sid was eager to write “dot and dash” columns that enabled him to get to know and cover every corner of the sports market. His “Jottings” were the modern-day version.
There’s a hint of “get out of my way” in this opening line. Prophetic. “I like my job. It’s fun.” That’s amazing. All that’s missing is: “I’d like to do this for the next 75 years.”
REPORTING > WRITING
Reporting beats writing in our business. How did Sid know that, with minimal experience and traditional education, at 25? Was he born to do this?
ONCE A NEWSBOY
“Came off the streets as a newsboy ...” Walt Disney himself couldn’t have written a more charming and fitting first chapter to Sid’s story.
‘HOURS MEAN NOTHING’
Glen Crevier laughs whenever he thinks of Sid and vacation time. “Every time I’d suggest it, he’d ask if he had done something wrong.”
NOPE, HE NEVER DID
Sid became a father and a grandfather, and of course he (eventually) lived for more than sports and his job. But this last paragraph ... it’s so Sid. (And no, Charlie, he did not get discouraged.)