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Former Tribune Sportwriter Bill Jauss Dies At 81

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 10, 2012 10:00PM

2012_10_10_jauss.jpg Tributes are piling in after the news of the passing of Bill Jauss at the age of 81.

The popular local sportswriter began his career writing at the Chicago Daily News. He later moved on to the Chicago Today until that afternoon paper was absorbed by the Tribune in 1974, and Mr. Jauss continued to write for the Trib until he retired in 2005.

Chicagoans around my age will best remember Mr. Jauss as one of the original panelists of The Sports Writers on TV. The show debuted in 1985 with Jauss, Bill Gleason, Rick Telander and moderator Ben Bentley, then moved to Sportschannel and ran until 2000, when Fox Sports Network didn't pick it up.

Daily Herald sports columnist Bruce Miles recalled Mr. Jauss was one of the first sportswriters to pay attention to pitch counts in baseball before it became the norm.

After we filled out our scorebooks, Bill would get out his pad of yellow paper and begin to draw more lines on it. He was getting ready to chart pitches. I never thought much of it at first; maybe it was Bill’s way of staying focused on the game. But invariably, by the fifth inning of some games, Bill would bark out, “He’s not going to last much longer, the pitch count already is nearing 100. All those foul balls in the third inning ran it up.”

I’ll admit to being mildly curious and somewhat bemused at first, and it wasn’t until the Cubs called up a kid named Kerry Wood in 1998, my first year on the beat, that I tried to take a page from Jaussie’s notebook so to speak. I found out you could tell a lot about how a game was going by the pitch count and the pitch selections. You also could ask about that “2-1 pitch that looked like it should have been called a strike” after the game if you were keeping track.

Sun-Times baseball writer Toni Ginnetti also remembered Mr. Jauss.

``Never forget the people you are writing for,’’ he would remind reporters and editors, young and old. And he would never shy away from engaging in conversation with anyone and everyone who would recognize him. He often said he preferred their viewpoints to those of the ``sports experts.’’

Mr. Jauss recently was awarded the Ring Lardner Award for his contributions to the print industry. Telander said of his partner at thee ceremony:

“Jauss loved the little guy,” Telander said at the event. “He spoke -- he likes to say -- for Joe and Jane Six-Pack. But he sells himself short. He spoke for Joe and Jane Martini, too. He spoke for everyone with a heart. And those of us who were so blessed have never stopped learning from Bill Jauss."