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Edwin H. Brandt Jr.
Edwin H. Brandt Jr. (David L Crockett, Baltimore Sun)

Edwin H. Brandt Jr., a retired Baltimore Sun editor and author who led its sports department and covered 1950s Baltimore Orioles and Colts games, died of complications from a stroke Thursday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Timonium resident was 85.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Edwin H. Brandt Sr., a City Hall figure who was secretary to mayors William F. Broening, Howard W. Jackson and Theodore R. McKeldin. His mother was Lillian Kilmore, a homemaker. The family lived at 22nd and Barclay streets.

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He was a 1947 graduate of City College and enrolled at Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College. While a student, he met his future wife. "I met him on the chapel steps after a service," said Nancy May Brandt.

She said her husband had worked on the Western Maryland college paper, and he took his published stories to Jesse Linthicum, The Sun's sports editor, who offered him a job in 1950. He initially covered high school and college sports. He began his newspaper career with a high school sports story, "City Cagers Defeat Calvert Hall," in December 1950. He also handled golf, racing and squash assignments.

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"Ed could do anything. He was a smart guy," said Robert Maisel, a retired Sun sports columnist who lives in Ellicott City. "He was a good reporter and a very good worker."

He covered the University of Maryland's loss against Texas A&M at the Cotton Bowl in 1957. Later that season, he wrote of the Oct. 20, 1957, game Maryland played against North Carolina attended by 43,000 fans. In the stands that day was Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who was on a U.S. tour. It was her first American football game.

He soon received assignments to follow the Colts and Orioles, including the team's 1960 season, when the Orioles finished in second place behind the New York Yankees.

That year he was in Washington when the Orioles defeated the old Senators at the end of the season. Milt Pappas pitched a six-hitter.

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"It provided a satisfying ending to Baltimore's best season since it returned to the major leagues in 1954," he wrote.

In 1960 Mr. Brandt was recruited to work at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, where he was sports and later metropolitan editor. He returned to The Sun in 1979 and became executive sports editor and special projects editor. He retired in late 1995.

"When he came back to the paper, he took right over and kept the department moving without a hitch," said Seymour S. Smith, former assistant sports editor. "He had been an energetic and hard-working reporter, and he was that way as an editor too. He had good ideas and suggestions. He also had an appreciation for sports history."

Mr. Brandt also enjoyed cards and played in poker and bridge games for many years.

"Ed was an excellent bridge player who had a sense of humor," said Jack Bacon, a Blakehurst retirement community resident. "He never lost his temper, and he put up with my mistakes."

He also played tennis at the Village of Cross Keys and at a Bolton Hill club.

"He was a delightful friend," said former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides, a fellow card player and tennis competitor. "I played tennis with him for 30 years, and he was everyone's favorite on the courts, even if some of his calls were a little questionable. He was a liberal thinker with a sense of fairness and honesty."

Mr. Brandt wrote several books, including a 1970 work, "The Last Voyage of the Pueblo."

In 1976, he co-wrote "When Hell Was in Session" with Jeremiah A. Denton Jr., a career naval officer and later a U.S. senator who was the first prisoner of war released by the North Vietnamese after spending eight years in captivity. The book was made into a 1979 television film starring Hal Holbrook and Eva Marie Saint.

He also wrote, "Rafael Palmeiro: At Home with the Baltimore Orioles" in 1997.

Mr. Brandt had a garden and cultivated roses.

The family will receive visitors from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road in Towson.

In addition to his wife of 64 years, survivors include two sons, John Brandt of Suffolk, Va., and David Brandt of Cape Coral, Fla.; two daughters, Lynn Baldacci of The Villages, Fla., and Holly Cole of Baltimore; a granddaughter; and a great-grandson.

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