When journalists arrive at the new U.S. Bank Stadium, Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman’s image will greet them at the media entrance.
The 96-year-old columnist got a private tour of the new media area with Minnesota Vikings vice president Lester Bagley and a Star Tribune editor.
“There will never be another Sid Hartman,” Bagley said, noting that Hartman has written about the team since its inception in 1961. “We thought it was appropriate to take this opportunity to honor his contributions to journalism and” the community’s understanding of sports.
The unabashedly bellicose columnist who counts among his “close personal friends” the biggest names in sports from coast to coast, took a seat in the new press box overlooking the new turf on the field Tuesday afternoon.
Bagley said the team’s owners Zygi and Mark Wilf endorsed the honoring of Hartman who is “well-known by all NFL owners and the commissioner.”
The columnist is featured in two works and his name is etched on the door of the media entrance to the building under an image of a Vikings’ norseman.
A floor-to-ceiling mural in the lobby of the media entrance shows multiple images of Hartman through the ages with Vikings coaches and players from Bud Grant to running back Robert Smith. One photo shows Hartman at the rostrum as he presented Grant at the coach’s Hall of Fame induction in Canton, Ohio.
Interspersed with photos of Hartman are clippings from local newspapers, Vikings media guides and program covers.
Another lobby image shows Hartman’s visage on a 40" x 60" mosaic by artist Derek Gores showing the columnist in his daily role as a WCCO-AM radio commentator, sitting in front of a microphone and wearing a headset. Gores created the image with newspaper clippings.
The new building opens Aug. 3 with a soccer match, but Hartman, a morning fixture on WCCO-AM as well, will be more interested in the Vikings first home preseason game against the San Diego Charhers on Aug. 28 and the regular season debut against the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 18.
Hartman’s first column was for the Minneapolis Daily Times on Sept. 11, 1945. He’s the only member of the Star Tribune staff whose likeness was marketed as a bobblehead doll.