Rick Hummel, who covered the Cardinals for five decades for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and who is enshrined in the writer’s wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, has died.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Hummel — known as “The Commish” by friends, players, managers, even baseball commissioners — died Saturday after a short, unspecified illness. He was 77.

Hummel was born in 1946 in Quincy, Illinois, and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1968. He was hired at the Post-Dispatch in 1971, joining the baseball beat two years later. He chronicled three Cardinals’ World Series championships, seven National League pennants and six MVP seasons.

Hummel received the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Career Excellence Award in 2006, placed by his peers in the writers’ wing in Cooperstown. He said in his speech that the honor was “more than just a dream come true because I never could have dreamt this.”

Sixteen years after that, Hummel was still covering the Cardinals. He retired last season.

“Rick was one of the most renowned and respected writers in the history of the Post-Dispatch,” Executive Editor Alan Achkar said. “But more importantly, he always carried himself with grace and kindness. And he was an incredible teammate to a very long list of colleagues. It’s impossible to measure the impact he’s had on the Post-Dispatch.”

Hummel is survived by his wife, Melissa, along with three children from previous marriages and their families.