12 things that happened the same year Sid Hartman was born

Sid Hartman at his desk inside his office in January 2012.

Sid Hartman at his desk inside his office in January 2012. Shari L. Gross

Yesterday, legendary sports columnist Sid Hartman died at the age of 100. He began working in the business by selling newspapers at age eight and never looked back.

Memorials to Hartman are everywhere you look. One testament to the man's legacy came from fellow NFL reporter Tom Pelissero, who went so far as to power-rank his freshly dead colleague against our state’s reigning patron saint:

Rather than getting in on the Grief Olympics, we paused to think about this very real human who (once) worked upstairs from those of us at City Pages, and lived through a whole century. To better wrap our minds around all he saw and experienced during his life – beyond the job, too – we thought about what the world looked like year Hartman was born.

In 1920:

  • The 1918 flu pandemic ends.
  • Prohibition begins. (Thanks, Volstead.) 
  • The National Football League is formed.
  • KDKA, the nation’s first commercial radio station, begins broadcasting in Pittsburgh.
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald releases his first novel, This Side of Paradise; Edith Wharton publishes her twelfth, The Age of Innocence.
  • The 19th Amendment is ratified.
  • Mickey Rooney, Isaac Asimov, and Pope John Paul II are born.
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police aka “the Mounties” are established.  
  • A horse-drawn cart packed with 100 pounds of dynamite detonates on Wall Street; the early act of terrorism goes unsolved, but launches the career of J. Edgar Hoover.
  • The USPS bans shipping children via parcel post.
  • The first dog racing track to use an imitation rabbit opens in Emeryville, California. 
  • President Wilson conducts the Palmer Raids, arresting and/or deporting immigrants (particularly from Italy and Eastern Europe) with alleged anarchist leanings or ties to labor movements.

Even as some of the above feels eerily familiar (pandemics and deportations), Hartman leaves this world a titan of local radio and football coverage (among others), both of which grew from nothing right alongside him– or perhaps, with his help.

Few of today's field could say the same. 

RIP, Sid. Thanks for all the years and dedication.