DETROIT -- Joe Falls, a longtime sportswriter for The Detroit News and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, died Wednesday of heart failure. He was 76.
''I was always so proud of Joe, because he loved his job so much and did it his whole life," his wife, Mary Jane, told the newspaper for a story posted on its website. ''There never was a day he didn't want to write."
Mr. Falls began his journalism career in 1945, when he went to work as a copy boy in the New York office of the Associated Press. He transferred to the Detroit bureau in 1953 and joined the Detroit Times in 1956.
When the Times folded in 1960, Mr. Falls moved on to the Detroit Free Press, eventually becoming the newspaper's sports editor. He remained there until 1978, when he joined the staff of the News. He also wrote for the Sporting News.
In 2002, he was inducted into the writers' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he was given the J. G. Taylor Spink Award.
Through the years, Mr. Falls wrote about many Tigers who are in the Hall of Fame: George Kell, Jim Bunning, Al Kaline, and Sparky Anderson.
''No matter what, you always knew that Joe loves the game," Anderson once said. ''He never hid his feelings."
Added Alan Trammell, whom Mr. Falls covered as a Tigers player and manager: ''Certainly his reputation, not just Detroit but nationally, is one of a Hall of Fame sportswriter, and he's certainly deserving. He was old school and had a style."
Mr. Falls covered 50 World Series, 20 Kentucky Derbys, 15 Super Bowls, 20 Masters and US Open golf tournaments, 25 Indy 500s, and dozens of events such as the Rose Bowl and Stanley Cup.