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Richard Cramer, Former Pulitzer-Prize Winner, Baltimore Sun Political Reporter Dies

Richard Ben Cramer, a former Baltimore Sun reporter who went on to win a Pulitzer Prize as a foreign correspondent, died Monday of lung cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Cramer, 62, lived in Chestertown. He left the Sun in 1976 for the Philadelphia Inquirer and won a Pulitzer in 1979 for reporting from the Middle East. Later, Cramer won critical acclaim as an author, chronicling presidential politics and legendary sports figures, among others.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called Cramer, “one of the best political reporters of our time,” in an obituary written by Frederick N. Rasmussen in the Baltimore Sun.
“Richard's work as a gifted writer and deeply principled journalist made our Republic a better place; made us a stronger, more compassionate and more understanding people," O'Malley said via a statement.
Cramer was born and raised in Rochester, N.Y. When Cramer was cut from his high school’s baseball team, he decided to write for the school’s newspaper.
Gene Roberts, the executive editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1972 to 1990, said Cramer was, “An extraordinary journalist, and his reporting for The Inquirer from the Middle East was miles ahead of anyone else at the time."
Tom Horton, a former Sun environmental columnist, said Cramer, “…was born to be a journalist and a writer.”
Mr. Cramer can to Baltimore to attend Johns Hopkins University. In a 1984 Esquire magazine profile, Cramer described Hopkins as an "insulated white enclave" in Baltimore, a town for which Cramer displayed obvious affection.
"Right away I loved the town. A great city. Run-down. Crabs five dollars a dozen. Johnny Unitas. National Bohemian beer … and Earl Weaver's Orioles congenitally bush,” wrote Cramer.
A writer and editor for The Hopkins News-Letter, Cramer failed to land a job at The Sun in 1971 and instead earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s journalism graduate school.
Cramer eventually joined The Sun in 1973, covering politics, City Hall and the Maryland General Assembly.
Robert Timberg, who was his City Hall counterpart on The Evening Sun, remembered Mr. Cramer "as the fiercest journalistic competitor that I've ever had. Richard was very good at taking something we decided we wouldn't do and he'd make it into something magnificent. He had an incredible eye for detail — he could make a person in a story really come alive."
A report by Frederick N. Rasmussen in The Baltimore Sun contributed to this report.

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