John Cranford, a long time DC hand who has covered economics and politics for 30 years, is retiring from his job as editor of CQ Weekly, according to an internal memo from Roll Call editor David Rapp. Cranford is leaving the pub to pursue a life-long dream of touring the country’s baseball stadiums.

Cranford worked for the Montgomery County Sentinel before joining CQ in 1984 as a news editor overseeing economics and agriculture. He also worked as tax and economics reporter, copy desk chief, and assistant managing editor, among other positions. He left for Bloomberg News in 1996 to serve as the Economy Team Leader, helping the organization establish its foothold in Washington and reorganizing the European economic desk in Frankfurt, Germany.

In 2003, he came back to CQ and has edited the Weekly ever since. He will leave at the end of the month, but is expected to contribute to the 2013 CQ Almanac due out early next year.

Read the full memo after the jump.

To CQ Roll Call staff –

John Cranford is retiring from CQ Roll Call after a Washington journalism career that spans 30 years, most of it with the CQ Weekly magazine. He will step away from his job as editor of the magazine at the end of the month and, he hopes, soon embark on a nationwide tour of baseball stadiums.

John has put his professional and intellectual stamp on our signature news magazine in more ways than it’s possible to summarize here, and with more depth of knowledge and understanding than the scores of colleagues who’ve worked alongside him during that time. He has covered — and explained, and usually foretold — all of the major economic events of our generation, from Gramm-Rudman and the stock market crash of the mid-1980s to the Great Recession of 2008 and the fiscal cliff of 2013.

John’s expertise on Congress and economic policy making is second to none in this city. He came to Congressional Quarterly in 1984 as a news editor overseeing economics and agriculture. The reporters under his careful eye included Jackie Calmes (now at NYT), Pam Fessler (now at NPR), Steve Gettinger (now back at the Weekly) and an agriculture reporter named Rapp. During this first 12-year stint at CQ, John was also tax and economics reporter, PIA editor, copy desk chief and assistant managing editor. I think he also supervised the cleaning crew.

In 1996, John joined Bloomberg News, which was still trying to establish its Washington bureau’s foothold in policy and political coverage. He helped take charge of Bloomberg’s worldwide economic coverage, reorganizing the European economic desk in Frankfurt, Germany, and supervising a hemisphere-wide team of reporters.

We lured him back to CQ in 2003, not only to run our economics domain but to write a weekly column, Political Economy, which quickly became the smartest, most informative economics column out of Washington. Over the past decade, he oversaw special projects and enterprise, and had two tours as editor of the Weekly.

To say that John is irreplaceable in this organization is a gross understatement. Fortunately, we won’t lose him entirely. We’re retaining his inestimable talents to finish the 2013 Almanac, which of course includes Votes Studies, Key Votes and Dids & Didn’ts, which make up much of our CQ Weekly issues in January. So he’ll still haunt the newsroom for a few more months.

But let’s give him three cheers today for everything he’s contributed to this magazine and this company, and for the journalistic values and integrity we shall inherit from him.

I, for one, owe him so much personally and professionally. He’s been my journalistic lodestar for three decades, after all. But in that respect, I’m sure I speak for everyone who has worked with John over these many remarkable years.

Thank you, John, and all best to you in your next adventure.

-David