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Ken Gurnick retires after 4 decades covering the Dodgers

Gurnick’s first year on the Dodgers beat was 1982

Ken Gurnick has seen it all in his four decades covering the Dodgers.
Photo credit: Jon SooHoo | Dodgers

Ken Gurnick’s nickname is mouse for his small stature, but in reality he is a beat writing titan. After four decades of writing about the sport he loves, Gurnick is retiring from the Dodgers beat.

Gurnick has written about the Dodgers for since 2001, and among his stops before that was the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Gurnick is one of a number of veteran reporters to retire this month, along with Jeffrey Flanadan (Royals), Joe Frisaro (Marlins), Chris Haft (Giants), Greg Johns (Mariners), and T.R. Sullivan (Rangers), who like Gurnick have decades of experience.

In my years of writing about baseball, nobody truly covered the Dodgers like Gurnick. He would know the ins and outs of every single person on the team, from the stars of the team to those on the fringes of the roster, bringing us stories of all of them.

If a pitcher was off schedule with a bullpen session, Gurnick was usually the first to know. Someone sat out batting practice? Gurnick knew. He always knew, thanks to painstaking attention to detail.

Gurnick’s wealth of experience gave him unique perspective. He was a beat writer for the Dodgers’ last two championships, which came 32 years apart. He was present during Tommy Lasorda’s “What’s your opinion of [Dave] Kingman’s performance?” rant.

Just about every significant Dodgers event of the last 40 years was covered by Gurnick. It was a joy to talk baseball with him, and I’m thankful he indulged my many queries. I mentioned my love of watching (and keeping score) of the Dodgers’ 22-inning game in Houston from 1989, and of course Gurnick was there. Late in 2019, Gurnick brought his old scorebook to the press box, and even had the pencil he used to keep score of the game.

Just about anyone who has worked alongside Gurnick had good things to say about him on Monday.

Personally, when I first started covering baseball games in person in 2009, I knew very little about how to go about it. Gurnick, Dylan Hernandez, and Tony Jackson, three of the full-time beat writers at the time, were incredibly generous with their time and encouragement, answering many questions I had, and helped me considerably along the way.

I consider Gurnick a role model in many ways, a truly nice person who was amazingly thorough at his job, with a tireless work ethic. The Dodgers beat won’t be the same without him.

Links & news

  • Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda was hospitalized on November 8 in Orange County, and though he’s been out of intensive care for roughly a month he remains hospitalized. “There was some hope that he might be released for the holidays,” writes Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. “But Lasorda’s doctors have opted to keep him in the hospital where his condition can be monitored.”
  • Old friend Charlie Culberson signed a minor league contract with the Rangers that includes a non-roster invitation to spring training. The utility man, who hit a division-winning walk-off home run in Vin Scully’s last home broadcast in 2016 and who hit .500 during the 2017 postseason with the Dodgers, spent the last three seasons with the Braves, and singled twice in three at-bats for Atlanta in this year’s NLCS.
  • Gurnick picked the best Dodgers at each uniform number for, from the legendary (Clayton Kershaw, Mike Piazza, Sandy Koufax) to the obscure (Onelki Garcia, Josh Ravin, Casey Sadler), and several in between.