Henry Schulman Interview: It’s Really Not Just About Baseball
Diana Landau | April 06, 2021
Carl interviews renowned sports journalist Henry Schulman this week. Schulman has covered major league baseball in the San Francisco Bay Area for over three decades. He was the San Francisco Giants beat writer since 1998 for the San Francisco Chronicle. Schulman has been a must-read (and listen!) for many Giants fans over his decades-long career. Prior to the SF Chronicle, Henry worked for the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Examiner.
Regarded as one of the consistently best journalists in the industry, Henry recently stepped away from the Chronicle into (un)retirement. A natural on the air and in writing, plus his sense of humor combined with deep knowledge of baseball makes Carl an ardent fan. Henry shares his next steps with us as he begins his Second Act.
Henry grew in Los Angeles to Jewish immigrant parents who were also Holocaust survivors. Both parents spoke multiple languages and were a little protective of Henry and his sister. A key moment for Henry was when his father took him to see his first baseball game, the LA Dodgers in 1969. “I was hooked from a young age,” Henry says.
As a teen, he told his parents he wanted to play the trombone professionally and they suggested a fall back position. He then became passionate about journalism. Henry said his parents couldn’t believe he would want to devote his life and education to a career that didn’t pay very well! But over time and through the course of his career, they became very proud of him. After college, Henry began working for small-town newspapers throughout California, which wasn’t so easy. “I think it made me a better journalist in the end.”
Now an admired sports celebrity on radio and TV, Henry talks about how different sports journalism is now. It used to be writing one article at a time for one newspaper. The digital age has changed so much of that, often demanding 4-5 pieces of content to be distributed daily. In 2015, Henry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, took a year off and is now cancer-free. His illness weighed heavily on his decision to step back from the grueling schedule. Of course, Carl gets Henry to share some intel on the best coaches and players he’s dealt with, sending Carl into total fan nirvana.
Carl couldn't help but ask Hank who his least favorite person to work with. It was the Giants former star Barry Bonds who had a reputation for treating the media poorly. Schulman holds nothing back about his feelings about Bonds and the games he would play with writers in the day. It's an interesting segment in the interview for sure.
Finally, Henry shares how his whole life isn’t just about baseball anymore. He is looking forward to an (un)retirement that includes freelancing (maybe a book, we hope), extensive travel with his girlfriend, learning to cook Italian food and taking salsa lessons. “It [future endeavors] wouldn’t have to be limited to sports. That would intrigue me a little bit.”
Henry Schulman’s insights into a successful (un)retirement:
• “It really does behoove you to set up a financial plan. Do Quicken or ibank for a year, categorize every expense over $20 and then give that information to a financial planner. They will know what you need.”
• Start thinking about a part-time job (maybe a wine-pourer in Napa!) to supplement your income.”
• “It’s really just math. Don’t be afraid. You can even “Google” what your break-even is with Social Security.”
• Don’t procrastinate on a Living Trust! Do it tomorrow before you do anything else.”
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.