What they're saying


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 20, 2001

Chris Berman, ESPN anchor: "In the early '80s, we weren't anything. And what I remember about Hubert is that he was bigger than I was -- which I think I've caught up to him. But also, the Bucs were kind of my first loves being a national guy. And I've always rooted for teams that were not the norm, and the Bucs were perfect for me. We (ESPN) began in '79, and they became good in '79. And I went down to a few games, and kept my personal love for the Bucs. But the big thing was that Hubert was a big-time, established writer already. I remember those who were nice to me when I was nothing. I don't have any hysterical memories to talk about. But I remember that he was the dean of Tampa-St. Pete writers along with Tom McEwen, and Hubert and I just hit it off. And I will never forget that he was very kind to me -- and to ESPN -- and for the next 20 years, every time Tampa Bay came up, the rest of America didn't care, but Hubert and I would catch a glimpse of each other and roll our eyes. It was like we were in this together. And at all those Super Bowl media days, with 2,000 people around us, he and I would always move to the corner and talk Bucs football for five minutes. We were the little Tampa Bay corner, and we just had this kinship -- based on the Bucs, and the classy way he always treated me when I was getting started."

Pat Summerall, Fox's senior NFL play-by-play man:

"A couple of things come to mind when I think about Hubert. One is that he came up to do a story on me years ago when I was working in Lake City. I don't know how much I weighed at the time. I'd quit playing pro football and the health craze wasn't in effect, and I was pretty heavy, and Hubert, as you know is, well, adequate. And the two of us were in my small hot tub together at the same time. If you had seen the sight of the two of us immersed in that hot tub. But that's the comfort I had with him. Certain people you're comfortable with, and certain people you'll talk to and tell things that you wouldn't tell other people. He's a likeable guy. He's got a great smile. I always felt like when I went to Tampa to cover the Bucs, or do a game on the road, seeing Hubert was something I looked forward to. After I talked to him, when we'd be preparing to do a Bucs game, I didn't need to call and talk to whomever the coach was, or any of the players, or anybody, because he knew so much about the Bucs himself."

Lesley Visser, CBS and HBO analyst: "My favorite thing about Hubert is the enthusiasm he'd bring to Wimbledon. He'd come storming into the press room with some story about a London rail strike that forced him to take two subways, two taxis and walk a half mile up Church Road to the All England Club. Then he'd say, "Well the British lost Hong Kong, but they still have Tim Henman!' Both the media and the players loved him -- once he referred to Fred Perry as a "home boy.' When it came to the athletes or the writers, he made every commoner feel like a king."

Tom Boswell, Washington Post columnist: Hubert's one of the best idea men in the biz. Give him 12 hours of all-day Masters data and a dozen possible story lines and he can pick the one that SUITS HIS STYLE the best. For a columnist, that's a big key. His wit, his feelings for what makes a community tick and his sense of the interests/values of his community all go into his pieces. One other point: For DECADES, Hubert and I each fought, in our own ways, to try to get a major league baseball team for our towns. So, in good spirits, we always debated whether the Washington or Tampa Bay area would get a team first. And we'd share info on each other's area, new ownership groups, scuttlebutt, etc. Of course, we mocked each other's chances. But I really WAS amazed that Tampa Bay won. I always thought of it, to a degree, as Hubert's victory for his city -- presenting St. Pete in a good light, but without telling any whoppers. I was also impressed at how gracious Hubert was after the Devil Rays were born and Washington was still left out in the cold. (So now I just tell him he merely got the Rays FIRST. Washington will get them LAST.)

Edwin Pope, Miami Herald sports columnist: I'm glad Hubert isn't completely nailing his computer to the wall. He is too good to let get away from us. The two things that always spring to my mind about Hubert are his ingenuity -- he never quits thinking about the next column, which is the first mark of a good columnist -- and his astounding energy level. Hubert knows what makes a good column and is about as good as they come at putting one together. I always envied him for one other thing: Once an athlete sees Hubert, he never forgets him.

Peter Kessler, The Golf Channel: "I've always loved working with Hubert for a number of reasons. One is, he's always comfortable in his own skin, and when he gives you his sense of a situation, it's without regard to whatever everybody is going to think, and it's without regard to political correctness. He tells you what he thinks. He comes up with unusual and fascinating viewpoints. He's fun to be with. He's not an entertainer, but he's entertaining. He's the worst dresser I've ever known, and I sympathize with him, because like Tiger, he hates when they pinch in those fairways at 330 yards, because it wreaks havoc with Hubert's fourth shot from the woods. I'm going to miss him, except he'll still be around. I look forward to working with him and continuing to be his friend."

Jack Buck, veteran St. Louis Cardinals announcer: "Everybody likes Hubert. Especially the athletes -- they trusted him. And he could make it interesting without ripping somebody apart. He didn't do his work at their expense. There was a newspaper up here a few years back called the St. Louis Star, and I tried to hire him at KMOX and get him a job with the paper as a package deal, but the newspaper folded. It's too bad, because he was just as good on the radio as he was at the computer. The other thing about Hubert -- he's such a nice guy, whether you're playing golf with him, having dinner with him or at the ballpark with him. He was terrific, writing all sports. He wasn't one dimensional."

Steve Young, former 49er and Buc quarterback: "Few guys can entertain and enlighten without ugly sarcasm. I always enjoyed Hubert's genuine interest and love of football. It was so clearly reflected in his writing. He will be missed."

Jack Nicklaus, PGA great: "I've known Hubert for more than 35 years, probably. He was a good writer, always a good guy. He tried to do the right thing and be in the right place at the right time. I wish him well."

Gary Player, PGA great: "I used to be very friendly with him, going back to (his days) in Jacksonville. . . . He's been a tremendous contributor to golf, but he's been a great gentleman. Really a nice man. You can't say much more about a person than that."

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