We all fondly remember St. Louis Cardinals utility man José Oquendo, who had the tools to play every position -- and did. In 1989, Oquendo didn't miss a single game. Todd Frankel, then, is the José Oquendo of St. Louis journalism. Young, earnest and aggressive, Frankel gives his editors at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
a quality start each and every time out. A lot of journalists at large dailies are specialists. Take them off their school or court or political beat and they flounder. Not Frankel. He's got range. He is the classic general-assignment reporter, a dying breed in our metropolitan newsrooms. Frankel is just as comfortable -- and enthusiastic -- providing glib dispatches from Collinsville's International Horseradish Festival as he is chronicling a fiery car crash, a double murder, a flu epidemic or a late-spring twister in the heart of Tornado Alley. What also sets Frankel apart from the media pack is his dogged coverage of St. Louis' collective self-consciousness. We can count on him to let us know when Detroit has moved ahead of us as the nation's most dangerous city, to keep us abreast of where we rank in categories ranging from traffic to literacy to air quality. Like José Oquendo, Todd C. Frankel comes to the newsroom with his game face on.