Updated on 09/17/2011 11:49AM

Joe Hirsch retirement - Last column on Nov. 29

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After a 55-year career that began on the copy desk of the Morning Telegraph in 1948, Joe Hirsch will write his last regular column for this newspaper on Saturday, Nov. 29. The game will never be the same.

Everyone at the Daily Racing Form family, where Joe has been the patriarch for decades, hoped and even assumed that Joe would keep writing for us forever. We would wave him off whenever he wondered aloud if he might not be getting too long in the tooth for the newspaper game. But when Joe decided a few months ago that he wanted this to be his last season, he came into the DRF offices, closed the door, and said simply, "It's time. And don't make a fuss." Arguing with him proved as futile as trying to wrest a dinner check from his generous grasp.

"I'm not looking forward to putting out a Racing Form without Joe," said Rich Rosenbush, DRF's editor in chief, "but if anyone's entitled to a bow, after 55 years, it's Joe."

As his countless friends and colleagues in racing will attest, Joe's contributions to the sport he genuinely loves go far beyond the columns he began writing in 1954. He has been a teacher and mentor to generations of writers, and a tireless advocate for racing on an international scale. His presence in these pages will be missed, but we all look forward to years of his continuing counsel and friendship.