March 24, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Nick Peters, a former Spink Award winner who covered the San Francisco Giants for 47 years and loved to mentor young writers, has died. He was 75.

Both the Giants and Peters' former employer, the Sacramento Bee, announced that he died Monday at his Northern California home after a long illness.

From Hall of Famers Willie Mays to Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda, to more modern stars such as Barry Bonds and Tim Lincecum, Peters was a staple in the press box at Seals Stadium, Candlestick Park and AT&T Park.

''Sad to hear of the passing of (at)BaseballHall writer Nick Peters,'' former Giants pitcher Russ Ortiz posted on Twitter. ''What a great guy. He'll be missed.''

Peters - nicknamed ''The Greek'' - received the Hall of Fame's J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 2008 for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. He became a full-time, traveling baseball writer in 1979 for the Oakland Tribune.

''I knew I was doing my job because I didn't get along with Giants management,'' Peters said in a 2008 interview with The Associated Press. ''I ticked off some people along the way. I was about doing the job, not about making friends.''

A San Francisco native, Peters never missed a Giants' home opener in his hometown beginning in 1958 until he fell ill, and wrote numerous books about the franchise. The Giants said Peters would be ''deeply missed.''

''He covered more San Francisco Giants games than any other sports writer during his career that spanned five decades,'' the team said. ''Nick was known not only for his writing talent and encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, but also for his mentorship of many young reporters who rose through the ranks of sports journalism.''

When he won the Spink Award, Peters received 210 votes from the 447 ballots cast from the members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

''Wow,'' Peters said when told of the vote count. ''I didn't realize that many people knew me. I was always a local guy because I never wanted to leave the Bay Area.''

The Giants' formal interview room at AT&T Park is named for Peters.

Former Giants manager Dusty Baker, who lives in the Sacramento area, visited Peters recently and spent time at his bedside. While Peters was unable to communicate much, Baker spoke to him.

And when Baker left, he gave Peters a big hug and said, ''I love you, Mr. Nick.''

He watched spring training games on television earlier this month.

''It was always a thrill to see Nick interact with the likes of Mays, (Juan) Marichal and McCovey, because there was a brotherhood there,'' said Daniel Brown, a former Giants beat writer and friend of Peters who writes for the San Jose Mercury News.

''Nick was part of the Giants' tradition, too - really woven into the fabric of the franchise.''

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