on in the old days, and by then, was just doing page mockups and pre-production stuff on the computer. They called it the “composing room.” He was a cool guy and he always took a shine to me and told me that he worked with the great John Steadman, a named was revered in my home on Bank Street.
If John Steadman wrote it in “The News Post,” it was as good as Sunday gospel to my Pop. To my Pop, Steadman WAS the HOLY SPIRIT!
Mr. Bading (that’s what I called him) was looking over my shoulder on the day the Dundalk High School 10th-grade signup sheet was being passed around for “elective” classes once we got to the big school. I had circled “JOURNALISM” on my form for two reasons: 1. I always liked newspapers and read voraciously (I actually used to read the sports page to the first grade class every morning when I was in kindergarten…true story!) 2. Richie Cunningham was a “journalist” on the TV show Happy Days, and I was a religious watcher before that crazy shark jump! (I later had both Ron Howard and Donnie Most on my early “Sports Forum” shows when I got into radio in the mid-1990′s)
Mr. Bading always liked to remind me that he worked at the newspaper and when he saw that I circled journalism, he promised that he’d “get me a job with John Steadman one day!”
So, what are the chances, right?
Well, one day in January 1983, right around the time I found out my girlfriend was pregnant, the phone rang in our kitchen and it was Mr. Bading. It was completely from out of the blue — that call. It had been at least eight months since I filled out that little blue form and circled “JOURNALISM.”
He said that he was going to let me talk with Tom Robinson, who was going to hire me to work at the newspaper. He literally handed the phone to him and five minutes later I had an appointment or a “job interview.”
Two weeks later I was a 15-year old, unpaid Dundalk High intern with a pregnant girlfriend taking the No. 23 bus to Fayette and Baltimore Streets every Tuesday after school to work for four hours per night in the sports department, which was actually a revamped version of the old “News Post” cafeteria. It is currently an empty parking lot that sits between the Renaissance Hotel and The Examiner building between Lombard and Pratt Streets. We had an outstanding view of Pratt Street and the World Trade Center from our slum (and it was an ABSOLUTE PIT) on the 3rd floor.
I did that every week and sometimes twice a week when they really needed me, until the Summer of 1984.
It was an amazing gig, to say the least. I got to work around and with “real” sportswriters like Bernie Miklasz and Jeff Gordon (who’ve gone on to basically own St. Louis for the past 20 years at The Post-Distpatch), John Hawkins (who was on the Blast beat then and has made quite a name for himself in the golf business), Barry Levine (who has appeared many times on Oprah as a