- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Morris Siegel, the late sports columnist for The Washington Times, was one of three writers named yesterday as finalists for induction into the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Also named were Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who are both still writing.

Siegel was nominated for the honor by Thom Loverro, his colleague at The Times and the chairman of the BBWAA’s Baltimore-Washington chapter. A three-member committee of writers who already are members of the Hall of Fame reduced a list of seven nominations to three finalists. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will vote on those nominations in November and award one of them the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

Siegel wrote for The Times from October 1986 until his death June 2, 1994, from liver cancer. Earlier, he was a baseball writer for The Washington Post and a columnist for both the Washington Daily News and the Washington Star. The News closed in 1972 and the Star in 1981.

Widely known for his sardonic, irreverent sense of humor, Siegel also worked at one time or another for nearly every major television and radio outlet in Washington.

During his tenures at the Star and The Times, Siegel campaigned vigorously for the return of major league baseball to the nation’s capital, which didn’t happen until 11 years after his death when the Montreal Expos moved here and became the Washington Nationals in 2005. When the Star closed, the D.C. Baseball Commission swiftly hired Siegel as a consultant because of his many contacts in the sport.

In his final column for the Star on Aug. 7, 1981, Siegel wrote, “This is a good baseball town. It also is a good theater town, good restaurant town, good anything town as long as the product is good.”

Although he traveled extensively to the World Series, Super Bowl and most other major sports events, Siegel was at his most effective working the phones from his house in Northwest, office or Duke Zeibert’s downtown restaurant — his home away from home.

There was virtually no major sports figure Siegel couldn’t get on the phone, and he asked tough questions that many other so-called reporters avoided. Because of his many years on TV, Siegel was almost as much of a celebrity as some of the famous and near-famous people who hung out at Duke’s and important sports events.

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