Art Popham (Broadcasters/sportswriters)
Art Popham went from honored batboy for the old Kansas City Athletics to public relations director for Charlie O. Finley's Oakland Athletics and eventually to radio announcer for the Pacific Coast League's Tacoma ballclub.Art Popham was born on Jan. 16, 1950, in Kansas City, Mo., and graduated from Pembroke Hill School in Kansas City in 1968. Though not a skilled baseball player, Art was passionate about the sport. One friend recalls that "Art's family installed a batting cage in the backyard and we spent countless hours practicing our batting skills." Art also loved to play APBA, a card game and an early precursor to fantasy baseball in which the participants would use statistics and players' histories to create their own games.
While serving as batboy for the Kansas City Athletics, Art earned the 1968 "Hustle Award" for always performing his duties at high speed and with gusto. He became the team's public relations director at age 20 and, when Athletics owner Charles O. Finley moved the team to Oakland, Art followed the team to the Bay Area. He proudly wore the Athletics' 1972 World Series championship ring.
In 1976, Art left the Athletics to become the voice of the Pacific Coast League's Tacoma Twins on KMO Radio, serving in that position from 1976-84. During that time, he broadcast games for the Twins, Yankees, Tugs and Tigers. In addition to calling PCL games, Art also worked University of Puget Sound and high school games. He and Doug McArthur also created the "Live from the Leaf" sports program, which aired from the Cloverleaf Tavern every Friday night from 1977-81.
In August 1984, Art received a special award for "9 years of dedicated service to Baseball and Sports in Our Community." He was recipient of the 1989 Distinguished Citizen Award in Tacoma, presented by the Municipal League of Tacoma and Pierce County, and recognizing "outstanding dedication and leadership in the betterment of our community."
The Popham Award came into existence to honor Art, who was known for his commitment to covering Tacoma with zeal. The award recognizes an individual who has done the most to build community spirit.
Art later joined the staff of The News Tribune as a business columnist in 1991, and he passed away from a stroke at age 52 on July 31, 2002.