03/12/1998 at 12:00 AM EST

Russell Baker, 73, the Pulitzer Prize winner who amused readers of The New York Times with his gentle humor since 1962. His final column appeared Friday. "Since it is Christmas, a day on which nobody reads a newspaper anyhow," he wrote, "I shall take the otherwise inexcusable liberty of talking about me and newspapers. I love them." And they, he.

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