Ben Hochman wins Top 10 award from AP for best sports columnist


Courtesy of Ben Hochman

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

When it comes to the world of professional sports journalism it really is the honor of being “nominated” that is celebrated. Recently, the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) announced which sportswriters, photographers and editors made their “Top-10” lists, which is regarded as one of the highest awards in the field.

Among those honored, Jewish sportswriter Benjamin Hochman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“Yeah, these are like our ‘Oscars,’” said Hochman.

Newspaper sports sections from all over the country compete for APSEs, along with national websites such as, the Athletic and Sports Illustrated. Each paper is assigned a division based on circulation numbers and size of staff.  The Post-Dispatch was up against the Baltimore Sun, Kansas City Star, San Antonio Express-News, Indianapolis Star, Charlotte Observer and Las Vegas Review-Journal for recognition.

The sports departments compete in multiple categories for columnists, beat writers, features, videos and more. Then every year in late February the Top-10s in each category are named.

“That’s the big thing – cracking the Top-10 is the honor – it’s the big deal,” said Hochman.

Individually Hochman cracked the Top 10 as a columnist, but he also received the honor of another Top-10 for Event Coverage along with his colleagues from the Post-Dispatch.

“For that, I wrote a column about listening to Albert Pujols’ 700th homer on KMOX Radio. That piece was submitted along with the ‘Albert 700’ works of our newspaper’s Ben Frederickson, Derrick Goold and photographer Robert Cohen,” said Hochman.

Hochman’s been here before

This is not the first time Hochman has cracked the APSE’s Top-10. The 1998 Clayton High School graduate and Central Reform Congregation member has now been named a Top-10 columnist four times, three of which while at the Post-Dispatch.

“In my lone full year as a columnist for the Denver Post, I was named Top-10 columnist, which was cool because it was my first year and because it was in the A Division against all the biggest newspapers in the country,” said Hochman. “The two years prior, I was named Top-10 beat writing in the A Division – I was covering the NBA’s Denver Nuggets for the Denver Post. It was pretty humbling to be named a top-beat writer among all the writers from America’s biggest newspapers and sports websites in the A Division.”

Along the way Hochman also cracked the Top-10 in the Breaking News, Investigative and Game Story categories.

Hochman’s columns

For the category of columnist, each writer is allowed to submit four pieces of work. Hochman met with Roger Hensley, the assistant managing sports editor for the Post-Dispatch, and Digital Sports Editor Erik Hall to discuss which pieces best captured Hochman’s abilities.

The four columns submitted were:

HS runners dedicate race to Jean Kuczka, their coach who died in school shooting

Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright’s emotional bond is also with Cardinals fans

A gold medal human, Jackie Joyner-Kersee devotes her life to bettering lives in East St. Louis

This St. Louis native hit .325 in the minors. Then he died in Vietnam

These columns hit the mark earning Hochman a fourth Top-10 honor, which made for a special moment when he heard the news.

“I was at Clementine’s Ice Cream with my family when I found out about the honor. I was like – oh, this is convenient since this is where we might’ve come to celebrate if we weren’t here already.

“This is always a special honor to receive. All the credit goes to my editors and co-workers, especially Roger Hensley, who took a chance on me, motivates me and encourages me.”

What’s next for Hochman

Being a “Top-10” columnist is not an invitation to slow down.

“I write four columns a week and record five-weekday videos for 10 a.m. called ‘Ten Hochman’ and the other Post-Dispatch writers and I are working on a very cool Cardinals special section to run right around opening day,” said Hochman.

Speaking of staying busy, Hochman has just finished a manuscript of a young adult novel about a high school basketball team and is writing a play for the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.

“I took the job even though, if I may, I’m more of a Christopher Marlowe guy. I’m kidding. It is such a cool honor. I’m teamed with a brilliant and visionary director named Adam Flores. The play will be about the history of the soccer culture in St. Louis but told through the stories of Henry IV and Henry V,” said Hochman.

The play will be performed in the street near the new downtown soccer stadium next September.