Former Sun-Times baseball writer Joe Goddard dies

Goddard covered the Cubs and White Sox for 27 of his 42 years with the Sun-Times.

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Joe Goddard.

Joe Goddard with wife Carol.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Joe Goddard, a longtime baseball writer affectionately known as ‘‘Young Joe’’ around press boxes while he covered the Cubs and White Sox for the Chicago Sun-Times, died peacefully surrounded by his family Friday. He was 85.

Goddard, who twice was nominated for induction into the writers’ wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, was a Cubs and Sox beat writer for the Sun-Times for 27 years. He worked at the newspaper from 1964 to 2006.

‘‘We called him ‘Young Joe’ because he acted young and thought young and always had that little-dickens smile,’’ said Hall of Fame baseball writer Dick Kaegel, who covered the Royals and Cardinals while Goddard was on the baseball beat for the Sun-Times. ‘‘He was a joy to be around, both in and out of the press box.’’

Goddard started his career at the Indianapolis Times in 1961 and spent one year covering the Indianapolis Indians, then a Triple-A affiliate of the Sox.

He spent nine years working on the Sun-Times’ copy desk before taking over the Cubs beat at the end of the 1973 season from Hall of Fame writer Edgar Munzel.

‘‘I met Joe in the 1980s. Every baseball writer in the country knew and liked Joe,’’ Sun-Times sports editor Chris De Luca said. ‘‘He was a different breed from a different era. It’s hard to imagine Joe without a smile. He will be missed.’’

Goddard was emotional when he received the nomination for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 2003.

‘‘Everybody who is in there is an idol of mine,’’ Goddard said at the time of the writers’ wing of the Hall of Fame. ‘‘I worked with many of those guys when I first started. I’m sort of the last of the gentlemen era, where everybody wore ties — and I did, too.’’

Goddard grew up in northwest suburban Inverness and attended Palatine High School and DePauw University. He grew up a fan of the Cubs.

‘‘Then the ‘Go-Go’ Sox came along [in the 1950s] and really swept me away,’’ he once said.

Goddard attended his final Sox game last summer with his wife, Carol, and other family members as a guest of chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.

‘‘Joe Goddard was the classic old-time baseball beat reporter,’’ Reinsdorf said. ‘‘They truly don’t make them like Joe anymore. His coverage of Chicago baseball went back decades.

‘‘Joe loved the game, the travel, the life, was a reporter who developed relationships across clubhouses and front offices and broke story after story. . . . He will be missed and his byline always remembered.’’

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