Born: February 15, 1959
In the old days of newspapers, sportswriters who climbed the ladder the right way, by rolling up their sleeves and doing the grunt work, earned respect from the old guard.
Working in the trenches, they’d call it. And that’s exactly the way Bernie Miklasz began his career. At age 16, he wrote for a weekly newspaper outside Baltimore, and two years later, successfully convinced the Baltimore News American’s sports editor to hire him part-time.
“I did whatever they needed, including going across the street to fetch lunch for the sports editors,” Miklasz said. “I’d take high school sports scores and details on the phone and write roundups. I would take the horse-racing results from the ticker to the composing room. I would accompany veteran writers on their beats to learn everything that I could – from baseball games to high-school games, to crime scenes late at night. I’d help them by taking notes and getting quotes. That was my higher education.”
Years later, Miklasz forged quite a career in the St. Louis sports media market, and his success is why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame proudly inducted him with the Class of 2023.
Miklasz worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 1985 to 2015 (except for one year in Dallas), primarily as the paper’s lead sports columnist. He provided extensive coverage of St. Louis’ baseball and football Cardinals, Blues and Rams, as well as local colleges, soccer, world-championship boxing and multiple Olympics.
Additionally, he has hosted his own radio show on 590 The Fan KNFS and has written columns for “Scoops,” The Athletic, the Dallas Morning News and Baltimore News American.
He also has voted on prestigious awards such as the Baseball Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Cy Young Award and Heisman Trophy.
A graduate of Archbishop Spalding in Severn, Md., Miklasz was voted as one of the Top 10 sports columnists in America in multiple years, won the national Eppy Award in 2014 for Best Sports Blog while at STLToday.com, and that was 12 years after being named the St. Louis Media Person of the Year in 2002 by the St. Louis Press Club.
At 101 ESPN, he was selected as a Top 10 radio host, nationally, for four consecutive years, including being named No. 1 in the U.S. for best morning-drive sports program for medium-size markets.
“As a kid I loved sports, and I loved to read, because I wanted to get as much information as possible about my favorite sports teams, general sports news, and world events,” Miklasz said. “My father would stop on his way home from work to buy five newspapers for me each day from the Baltimore and Washington D.C. markets. From an early age, I told my parents that I wanted to be a sportswriter.”
At the Baltimore News American, Miklasz convinced the sports editor to let him write about the great Gordie Howe on the hockey great’s night in town against the Washington Capitals. That was his first byline.
Ultimately, his time there led to the Post-Dispatch. He initially covered the football Cardinals, spent a year in Dallas, and then in 1989 returned as the Post-Dispatch’s lead sports columnist. He was only 30.
His influence on local sports included hirings, firings and roster moves, as well as the Rams’ relocation from Los Angeles to St. Louis in the 1990s.
“When I wrote from the heart, it never failed the readers,” Miklasz said. “My passion for our town and for St. Louis sports always came through in what I wrote. I frequently wrote with emotion, and I believe readers could relate to me because we understood each other and they knew I cared as much as they did. That established a lasting connection.”
Sports-talk radio enhanced Miklasz’ reach, and he dove in on online chats before they became popular.
Looking back, he thanks many for their support: his wife, Kirsten, brother Brad, mother-in-law Linda Lotte, sister-in-law, Jen Chaffin and her husband, Steve, and their son Steven, and the legion of cousins in Baltimore.
“I’m a very, very lucky man. I decided at age 7 that I wanted to grow up and become a sportswriter,” Miklasz said. “And I was able to attain that dream, and live it to the fullest, for the last 45 years and counting. And I was able to develop a radio career as well, and that’s been meaningful to me. And I’m getting paid to do something I truly love? Are you kidding me?”