Monday, March 31, 2014

Filling Vin's Crocs will be a big job

Credit: Paul Videla/
We had quite the sendoff last week for Herald columnist Vin Mannix, who has retired after 16 years here. In my column Sunday, on the rest of the op-ed page and in Vin's final column, we paid him tribute. Vin made a career out of writing about people. No detail was too small, every person was significant. And Vin made sure everyone knew that.

Vin certainly didn't retire quietly -- that wouldn't be his style. His last story, published Sunday, is an epic on 'Spittin' Bill Doak -- Bradenton sweet shop owner makde big impact on national pastime'

Read more here:
Doak played for the St. Louis Cardinals (I swear I didn't put vin up to this story!) from 1914-1924, worked with Rawlings on a revolutionary new design of baseball gloves that became a prototype for year and retired to Bradenton. Here, Doak became a fixture in short order, with a downtown sweet shop and the patience of a saint in coaching boys' baseball. Few knew what a legend he'd been.

Does Vin see a bit of himself in Doak? Maybe he should. I took a call this morning from a reader in Rubonia, upset because she hadn't talked to Vin last week before he retired. Everyone in her family has been mentioned in Vin's columns over the years -- birthdays, a wedding, a sports highlight. She didn't want me to "bother" Vin in retirement -- she said, "Just let him know Ruby is gonna miss him terribly."

We know we can't really replace Vin, but we're going to keep some of his traditions going. Another Herald retiree, Carl Mario Nudi, has returned part time, and he'll start writing a weekly "People" column. Carl's a character in his own right, so we think you're going to enjoy his banter. You can send him items at any time. And reporter Richard Dymond,, is changing beats and will be covering health & social services, picking up where Vin left off in great coverage and story-telling about our vast non-profit world.

When a newsroom staffer moves on, as I wrote in my Sunday column, it's a long-standing tradition in newsrooms to put together a front page that pays tribute to the departing compadre -- complete with touches of newsroom humor. We asked some of Vin's friends, former cohorts and community contacts to contribute, too. So here's to Vinny. Enjoy retirement!

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