Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has been with the Arizona Cardinals for his entire professional career, starting with the 2004 draft. He’s in his 15th season with the franchise, and is one of very few figures who have been around the team that long. But at the start of a press conference Sunday night after the team’s last home game of the year, Fitzgerald honored someone who’s spent even longer with an organization; Bob Baum, who’s retiring from the Associated Press after 43 years and has been a constant presence on the Arizona sports scene. Baum’s run with the AP lasts longer than the Cardinals have been in Arizona, even, as they moved from St. Louis ahead of the 1988 season. Here’s Fitzgerald with a tribute to Baum, and a special present of a jersey with Baum’s name and 43 on it:
Before @LarryFitzgerald answered any questions from the media, he had a little surprise for one of their own, longtime AP writer @Thebaumerphx. pic.twitter.com/mW81K7mSGV
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 24, 2018
“Before we get started, I want to honor a special member of our media, Bob. As you guys all know, this is his last game he’s going to cover here for the Cardinals, and he’s been doing this for 43 years for the AP. I can’t say enough good things about you, Bob; I have so much respect for you, and the way you’ve gone about your business is really admirable. I hope retirement treats you well, and I’ve got a special little gift for you.”
That’s a neat move, and a neat tribute. And it was only one of the honors for Baum at the final Cardinals home game he was covering, as there was also a pregame salute to him:
An exception to the cheering in the press box rule.
Congrats to AP writer @Thebaumerphx on a great 43-year career! pic.twitter.com/WJpbuzFMHH
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) December 23, 2018
Baum had a funny comment on all of this later:
Today was kind of like Tom Sawyer watching his own funeral.
— Robert Baum (@Thebaumerphx) December 24, 2018
It’s cool to see Fitzgerald and the Cardinals honor someone who’s covered their team so long, and this was a neat way to do it.
[Arizona Cardinals on Twitter; photo from Bob Baum on Twitter]