Yankees, Mets exec Arthur Richman dies

March 25, 2009 2:30:41 PM PDT
Arthur Richman, a longtime baseball writer who went on to spend four decades as an executive with the New York Mets and Yankees, died Wednesday. He was 83. The Yankees said Richman died in his sleep, with his wife Martha and friends by his side.

"Arthur Richman made baseball and the New York Yankees an enormous part of his life, and I am grateful for his contributions both personally and professionally," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "He was a trusted friend and adviser to me, and someone the world of baseball will find impossible to replace."

Richman's biggest contribution to the Yankees came in 1995, when he recommended that the team hire Joe Torre as manager. Richman had worked together with Torre in the 1970s with the Mets.

"He was a dear friend, and I will forever be grateful for having him whisper in George's ear about me managing the Yankees," said Torre, now manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. "He loved to be miserable. That was Arthur's signature. And he had a friend in every aspect of the game. He was truly loved."

Richman's brother, the Milton Richman, was United Press International's sports editor from 1972-85 and a columnist at UPI from 1964 until his death in 1986. He was inducted into the writers' wing of the Hall of Fame in 1981.

A St. Louis Browns fan in his youth, Arthur Richman went to work for the New York Daily Mirror as a copy boy in 1942 and worked there until it folded in 1963. He wrote one on New York's most popular baseball columns, "The Armchair Manager."

He joined the Mets as director of promotions, then became publicity director and was named traveling secretary in 1980. He was replaced as traveling secretary in December 1988 after he criticized the postseason share he was awarded by players. Six years later, he said then Mets co-owner Nelson Doubleday often made anti-Semitic remarks in front of him.

A friend of the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Richman was hired as the Yankees vice president of media relations the following May. Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte got to know him after joining the team in the 1990s.

"He was a regular, someone that always came around," Pettitte said.

Richman became a senior adviser in 1995 and stopped working following a heart attack in 2006.

Services were scheduled for Thursday at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York. His family asked that any memorial gifts be sent in Richman's name to the "Catch 25 Foundation," established by Yankees manager Joe Girardi for Alzheimer's Disease research and support.