Paul Oberjuerge header image 2

Famous San Bernardino Sun Sports Alumni

April 19th, 2015 · 1 Comment · Baseball, Sports Journalism, The Sun

Stan Hochman died a few weeks ago. He had been a reporter and columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News since 1959, and for the past few decades probably was the city’s most prominent sports journalist.

Before Philadelphia? He had worked as a sports writer at the San Bernardino Sun, my old paper. Actually, he went directly from San Bernardino to Philadelphia, which was a huge jump.

It probably is fair to say Stan Hochman, whose obituary (link, above) is one of the longest I have seen for a sports writer, was the most-famous/best-known sports journalist who had “San Bernardino” on his resume.

Though he is by no means the only Sun alumnus who became well known, and here is a list of several of them, more or less in chronological order.

–Betty Cuniberti. Of everyone on this list, she gained a fair chunk of her prominence while she was still at The Sun. That would have been for her story revealing how unpopular Steve Garvey was with his fellow Los Angeles Dodgers. This would have been about 1975, when Garvey was the face of the club and his wife, Cindy, was very well-known, too, and the public had no real idea how Garvey’s teammates pretty much loathed him and his wife. Cuniberti also was one of the most prominent of the women who were entering the profession in the 1970s. (She famously rode the Matterhorn at Disneyland with Woody Hayes, too.) She went on to the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Paul Hagen. He worked with Betty Cuniberti, so I think we could say San Bernardino was not a bad place to advance yourself, in the middle 1970s. Paul covered some of everything, but he most enjoyed covering the Dodgers. He later went to the Dallas Times-Herald and covered the Texas Rangers but spent the biggest chunk of his career with the Philadelphia Daily News where he covered the Phillies for 25 years. Hagen was honored by the baseball Hall of Fame, a distinction I noted on this blog a few years ago.

–Steve Dilbeck. He would be mad if I didn’t have him on this list. Still working. Put in a long stretch at The Sun when it was in its heyday, in the 1980s and 1990s, and covered the Dodgers home and road for most of a decade. A distinctive writing style, and a guy sources liked and respected. He went to the Los Angeles Daily News in 1999 and became a columnist there, and now blogs about the Dodgers for the Los Angeles Times.

–Nate Ryan. And to think, he aspired to be on radio when he joined us in the early 1990s as an intern from Northwestern. We put him on the motor racing beat ahead of the opening of the California Speedway, the monster track in Fontana, and he spent more and more time covering Nascar, which was in the process of taking over the American motors scene. Went on to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where he shared the Nascar beat, then had it full time, then to USA Today, where he covered the same beat for most of a decade, in the process becoming one of the most important media people around the sport. Now works for NBC Sports as a reporter and on-air personality covering Nascar, and is more prominent still.

Andy Baggarly. “Badge” was another Northwestern intern who did 11 weeks with us … and then came back full-time. As Ryan did. Andy covered some baseball in San Bernardino, then went over to our arch-rivals at the Press Enterprise, in Riverside, and then to the Oakland Tribune, where he began covering the San Francisco Giants — and he is still at it after a couple of more moves in the Bay Area. He has written two well-received books about the Giants during what is, clearly, the club’s golden age. Also a member in good standing of the Sun Baseball League.

–Doug Padilla. Perhaps the most engaging of anyone listed here. He could talk the paint off a wall and make it seem like the funniest thing ever. After The Sun, he worked for the Associated Press in Minneapolis, where he covered his future brother in law Kevin Garnett, came back to The Sun briefly, then went to the Chicago Sun-Times to cover the White Sox, came back again to Southern California and covered the Angels. Returned to Chicago with and has covered ball since then. And working for ESPN automatically hikes your “fame” level.

The Sun had some other very fine writers during this period, and in terms of writing, a few might outstrip everyone on this list.

(Also not including people who were never full-time, like Marc Stein, the ESPN basketball guy; he was a summer intern, and a pretty good one.)

This list is about prominence, which also is going to leave out those staffers who went into careers in management or as editors.

This list is about lots of people saying, “Ah, I know/remember that name.”

Like Stan Hochman, in Philadelphia.


1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Dan // Apr 22, 2015 at 11:30 AM

    Don’t forget about Marc Stein. Of course, he was half the guy while he interned at The Sun that he is now reporting on the NBA for the evil four-letter network.

Leave a Comment