SPRING PARK, Minn. - The custom T-shirts said "STRAIGHT BASS HOMIE," offering a spinner on one of the most famous lines ever uttered by Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss.
People who know Moss from near and far have probably seen the "Straight cash, Homie," clip, and they likely know his passion for fishing.
There's a good chance, particularly in Minnesota, that they also know about the receiver's deep relationship with intrepid reporter Sid Hartman, whose final column with the Star Tribune appeared on Oct. 18, 2020. Hartman passed away later that day at age 100 but not before leaving a lasting legacy with "close, personal friends."
The value that Moss and Hartman each placed on loyalty made the connection stronger.
"It goes a long way. ... When you look at Sid and his history and how long he was a journalist, what else does he need to do to make a name [for himself]? The only thing he had to do was just continue to keep it real with the players, and I think that's what he was able to do," Moss told Vikings.com. "Where I come from, we call it 'keeping it real.' In common terms, you call it loyalty. He was a loyal man.
"Just hearing Chad [Hartman] talk about how loyal his father was and what we as athletes in the state of Minnesota, not just football players, everybody, meant to him meant a lot to hear because I gave him utmost respect, no matter what it was," Moss added.
Moss aligned fishing and fellowship with former Vikings teammates and Twin Cities athletes in tribute to Hartman on Wednesday.
He rounded up Vikings Legends Daunte Culpepper, Jake Reed, Robert Smith, Scott Studwell, Pete Bercich and Todd Bouman, as well as former Twins Joe Mauer and Al Newman, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and former Gophers and Timberwolves big man John Thomas to partner with guides.
A heavy rainstorm hit as boats were scheduled to depart Lord Fletcher's to scour Lake Minnetonka for bass, but the tournament was able to proceed. Uncommon to most fishing tournaments, each contestant was given a Mystery Tackle Box from the subscription service and challenged with using something inside the kit to lure fish.
Bouman had a successful day teaming with Studwell and winning first place with a total haul of 14 pounds, 8 ounces to narrowly edge the team that featured Dumba (14 pounds, 6 ounces). Reed's team totaled 13 pounds, 14 ounces for third place, and Thomas reeled in the biggest single bass (4 pounds, 2 ounces) of the day.
A luncheon, during which players shared their favorite memories of Hartman, followed.
The Straight Bass Classic will be accompanied by an upcoming online auction to raise funds for the DYRK1A Syndrome International Association. Hartman's 20-year-old grandson, Quintin, has faced numerous health problems caused by the extremely rare condition brought by a change in the DYRK1A gene.
After hearing stories from the Vikings Legends about what Sid Hartman meant to them, Chad Hartman shared the courage Quintin has shown his entire life.
"Quintin had some health challenges right from the start. We couldn't quite figure out what was going on, and we were surrounded by great doctors and great help," Chad Hartman said. "His heart stopped at one point, and he couldn't feed. He had awful reflux and was in and out of the hospital over and over again, and we just couldn't figure out what was going on.
"We have so many categories to place individuals in due to health issues. Quintin was unknown, in this different category, and it was an incredible challenge, but it was also the most amazing fortune I've lived," Chad Hartman continued. "There are people in this room who are heroes to so many people. I have one hero in my life, and that's [Quintin]. The pain he has had to deal with, the surgeries he's had to deal with. He's on the autism spectrum, but every single day is happy and kind. He suffers seizures and had leg surgery four years ago and couldn't walk for six months."
Quintin was able to say "thank you" on behalf of himself and others with DYRK1A Syndrome. His tone was quiet, but the gratitude filled the banquet room.
"At the end of the day, when you come together for a great cause like this and just hear the stories, you feel the emotions in the room," Moss said. "I think it's great to be a part of something like this and to be able to raise money for the DYRK1A foundation. It's always great to be part of a great cause, and to come up here and honor Sid Hartman, that's what I like."
Moss reminisced to creating Randy's Purple Pioneers as a rookie with guidance from former Head Coach Dennis Green, the Vikings Ring of Honor inductee who created the Vikings Community Tuesday program that has influenced other NFL teams.
"He was wanting us to get out, because we are a big influence to the community," Moss said. "For me to be able to come back and ... raise money for this foundation and someone's life, I don't know if easy is the word to use, but I think when you're dealing with a sick child like that, there's no limit on the bills that are coming in and the things you have to pay for, so being part of something like this and helping raise money, that's the least I can do.
"You've got guys like Culpepper, who didn't hesitate. Robert Smith didn't hesitate. Stud' didn't hesitate. Stud' played way before us, and for him to come back and be part of the executive office and still be a part of it, once you're in the helmets and pads, it's a brotherhood for life," Moss added. "I think when you see we're coming out for a great cause, everybody's coming out for it, so I hope this isn't a one-time thing and that we can continue to do something like this."
Excerpts from the luncheon follow:
MOSS: "There's a lot of memories, and I won't take it for granted about any type of friendships that I have in life, but I just want to honor this man because he meant so much to this state and to the sports."
REED: "Sid didn't care if you were a starter or a special teams guy, he treated everyone the same. He was a no-nonsense guy. If you played well, he'd tell you that you played well. If you played bad, he would tell you that you played bad. He wasn't going to write nothing in the paper and hide his pen. If he wrote something bad about you in the paper, you'd know that Sid wrote it because he'd come sit next to you, 'Yeah, I wrote it, and you played bad.' That's one thing I liked about him. Every time I saw him, he had the same smile and greeted me the same. I brought my son up here when he was recruited at the University of Minnesota, and he talked to me the same way, like I was about to suit up and run on the field."
THOMAS: "I grew up here, played high school basketball here. I was a Golden Gopher and also had a stint with the Timberwolves in my career. I would tell you that Sid was a consummate pro, but the thing I admired the most about him was how much he cared, and the platform that he gave me personally. I started playing basketball late, so I was a big raw talent, and he allowed me to shine in Sid's column. It wasn't until I became a Gopher and we had that Final Four run in '97, he sat in the locker room and would invite us to his home. It was another perspective. That means something to me, that personal connection, I'll never forget. As I moved to the NBA, my first official 'John Thomas welcome back day,' Sid was there again. I now work with the Wolves, so I had an opportunity to see him back when I transitioned from a player to an executive. The Hartman family has meant a lot to me personally, and certainly Chad, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. That legacy continues to live on through your family. I really do appreciate and love Sid and your entire family."
SMITH (Note: After Smith was drafted by Minnesota, his agent advised the running back to make sure to get to know Sid Hartman): "For Sid, it was just about telling the story. If you messed up, he said you messed up. If you did something right, he would point that out as well. That's why we respected him so much. Not only did he represent Minnesota sports, but it was just the way that he did his job, a lunch-pail kind of guy, bringing his tape recorder, and that's something you can really respect as a player. My favorite story was, being a rookie, when you come in and there's so many expectations, and this reporter is writing that, well, Sid invited me onto his boat on the Mississippi River and really kind of did a great job of saying, 'Settle down, be yourself and things are going to work out for you.' It felt great to have an icon like that take you in and pull you aside and say those great things, but that's who Sid was and why we're all here today."
CULPEPPER: "Sid was just a solid human being. That's what I would say. He was a straight-shooter and he was old-school. I really respected it, and whether he wrote something good or bad about you, he would tell you how it is. He was a legend around the facility."
STUDWELL: "I've probably known Sid longer than anybody in this room. ... He was one of the best, if not the best, supporter of all the sports in Minnesota, and he was always there, even at 100, he was still there. He was a remarkable man and a very good friend. He came to our wedding. He probably didn't bring a gift, but I appreciated what he did for the Vikings, for me, for my teammates, for all of these players in this room. He was one of our best supporters, and I'll always appreciate that the most, because he was honest and truthful and wore his emotions on his sleeve. He was a great man, and I'm certainly very proud to call him a friend."
BOUMAN: "I grew up way out in the sticks near Marshall, played 9-man football and only had 16 kids in my class, so when I got to the Vikings, I had grown up seeing Sid in the newspaper with his column all of the time. I went undrafted, got to the Vikings as a free agent. He didn't have to come talk to me at training camp. I'm just happy to be there and hoping to have a chance to make the team. I remember him walking up to me, 'Hey son, how you doing?' I looked up, almost startled because it was Sid. I introduced myself, and he goes, 'I know who you are. Just keep doing what you're doing.' It almost gave me that calm feeling, that everything was going to be OK, because it was Sid. I was lucky to get to meet him and know him. About 10 or 12 years ago I was at a Gophers game, he walked right up and shook my hand. I was surprised he remembered who I was, but that's the type of guy he was. I was very blessed to know him."