Congratulations to longtime Oakland Trib sports columnist Dave Newhouse, who will be inducted Friday into the 14th annual Bay Area Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame, along with Fred Biletnikoff, Joe Rudi, former 49er Len Rhode, former Warriors Coach Joe Roberts, basketball great Ruthie Bolton, former Stanford tennis coach Dick Gould and former Tribune sports editor George Ross, the man who did more than anyone else to lure major league sports to Oakland and support the teams once they were there.
He was particularly generous to a fledgling football team called the Oakland Raiders, but he and Al Davis parted company after Ross ran a story about the ruthless way Davis wrested ownership of the Raiders from Wayne Valley. It was all true, of course, but Davis, as he did to anyone he considered a traitor, cut him off.
"George was a real reporter," says Dave. "He told the truth and paid the price."
Dave will receive the Wendell Smith Award, named after the crusading African-American journalist who wrote column after column holding major league baseball's feet to the fire until it finally integrated. It was he who recommended to Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey that he sign Jackie Robinson.
The Multi-Ethnic Hall of Fame has an interesting history. It was founded in 2000 as the African American Sports Hall of Fame. "But as it evolved, we changed the name to Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame in 2005," says founder Arif Khatib. "And as it evolved further, we changed it to Multi-Ethnic Hall of Fame to include all people, no matter their race."
This name change was heartily endorsed by longtime Bay Area News Group sports columnist Monte Poole, who said, "I think adjusting your Hall of Fame to include all humans, regardless of color, is a brilliant stroke. The way I see it, you're recognizing not just the color of one's skin, but all those, regardless of skin color, who contributed to the cause of equality."
That's a pretty good description of Dave. He doesn't know how to treat people with anything but respect. And when he sees an injustice, he's not afraid to call it out.
The induction ceremony will be held at a banquet Friday Feb. 28 in the downtown Oakland Marriott. Tickets can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.