Roger Snell, 43, won top investigative journalism awards in his 18-year career, including the Pulitzer Prize and Silver Gavel. The first story he wrote as an Ohio State freshman was about the neighbor five doors away.
In his career, Snell wrote more than 3,000 articles, highlighted by the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 as a member of the Akron Beacon Journal staff.
Snell was a 1990 Pulitzer finalist with Michael J. Berens, now with the Chicago Tribune, for their investigation of Columbus police who owned crack houses and for major irregularities in the drug war.
Snell won top state or national investigative reporting awards in almost every year of his career in Chillicothe, Ohio, Springfield, Mo., Akron, and Columbus.
His investigations of ethical abuses by a former Ohio Supreme Court justice won the American Bar Association's top newspaper award in 1992, the Silver Gavel.
The Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers named Snell the Ohio reporter of the year in 1992 and 1993, the first reporter ever to win in consecutive years.
Discovering Della was the key and final piece to the story about Horne and that 1929 season. Her details of the humor, flavor, character and lives of these players on and off the field took this story beyond the box scores. She disclosed the family tears and emotions about her dad's career and a secret never discovered when he arrived at Catalina with Horne in 1929.
She remembered the quiet and slight Berly at spring training and Snell discovered a Chicago Tribune story about how Horne was shooting pictures of everything on the train ride because he had never been west of Illinois in his life.
Because of Della, a cub reporter's simple newspaper story about Horne 24 years ago had evolved to another Cub report, a book about the Cubs' 1929 season.
Della, Dorothy, Junior and Charlie Root
Della, 83, was enthusiastic and encouraging about this project, tirelessly granting hours of telephone interviews from her California home, mailing photos and news clips, and helping with precise details about train travel with the team and what the players were really like off the field.
Della said it was a joy to return to those happy, wonderful days, talking about her famous father and beloved mother, and remembering the thrill as a 10-year-old girl skipping school to go to Catalina Island in the spring of 1929.
Della's superb memory, humor and attention to detail garnished Snell's collection of box scores, newspaper clips and stats.
The 1929 season truly was the golden era for Horne, the Roots, the Cubs and the city of Chicago.
Snell resides in Frankfort, Ky., with his wife, Linda, and two daughters, Rachel and Hannah. He is director of communications for the Kentucky Department of Insurance. E-mail Roger Snell