Longtime San Francisco Giants beat writer Henry Schulman, known for his penetrating personality profiles and a colorful style honed over a more than 30-year sportswriting career, has announced he is retiring from daily journalism in order to, in his words, “give someone else a shot to hold the best sportswriting job a human can have.”
“The 2020 season was my last,” Schulman wrote in a farewell column Friday in the San Francisco Chronicle. His last day will be Jan. 4.
Since joining the Oakland Tribune in 1985, Schulman has had a front-row seat to Bay Area baseball history, shaping our understanding of events like the 1989 “Earthquake Series” between the Giants and Oakland A’s, Barry Bonds’ multiple (and controversial) home run record pursuits, and the dominant Giants teams that won three World Series titles from 2010 to 2014.
In an interview last year, Schulman told J. that in a changing news industry, while some of his colleagues were pulled away from local papers by national outlets such as ESPN and the Athletic, he found a comfortable niche for himself at the Chronicle, and took pride in seeing his byline in “America’s best sports section.”
“I’ve always liked the immediacy of covering a team in a city for a local paper,” he said. “It’s always been kind of a dream for me.”
The son of Holocaust survivors, Schulman grew up in West Hollywood and was bar mitzvahed at Etz Jacob Congregation in Los Angeles. His parents, Ben and Ella Schulman, hailed from Poland — his mother fled after the Nazi invasion and his father spent time in a concentration camp. Ben and Ella met in Israel and moved to the L.A. area, where they owned and operated car washes.
Schulman, who attended UC Berkeley, lives on the Peninsula these days. He called himself “your typical, secular American Jew,” adding, “you never lose your Jewishness, no matter how secular you become.” He celebrates Jewish holidays when visiting home, he said.
Last year he was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California, which he called a “very high honor for me.”
Schulman wrote that he had accepted a voluntary buyout from Hearst, the Chronicle’s parent company. In October, Hearst said it would be offering buyouts to staff in an effort to cut costs due to revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic.
Schulman said he still plans to write about baseball, “but not on daily deadlines.” He currently has some feature stories in the works that will run in the Chronicle in coming weeks.
More than a year before making his announcement, he told J. he was looking forward to his retirement — that he’d like to play golf and travel the world. And maybe start writing a novel.
“I’d like to keep writing, just not on a daily grind that this job entails,” he said. “I’d like to think that when I retire, that creativity will sort of flood in.”