The BBWAA was founded on October 14, 1908, to improve working conditions for sportswriters in the early part of the 20th century; It also sought to promote uniformity of scoring methods, and to professionalize the press box, such that access was limited only to working reporters, telegraphers, and others who had a reason to be there. The forty-three founding members of the Baseball Writers Association first met in mid-October 1908. They included Joe S. Jackson, who became the association's first president. At that time, Jackson was the sporting editor (today called sports editor) of the Detroit Free Press. Also selected as officers were Irving E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune, syndicated columnist Hugh Fullerton, and Boston Globe baseball writer Tim Murnane A second meeting was held in New York City in December; Sanborn decided he could not serve as an officer at that time, and he was replaced by William Weart of the Philadelphia Times. The slate of officers was ratified, and anyone who wrote about baseball in major league cities was eligible for membership. This policy changed, however, in December 1913, at which time it was decided that minor league baseball writers could also become members. Then, Jackson became a dominant force in the early years of the baseball writers, being elected as president of the association during nine consecutive terms. Jackson finally retired in 1919, while Sanborn returned to assume the position of president. After that, Jackson became a member of the BBWAA Board of Directors.
The organization's primary function is to work with Major League Baseball and individual teams to assure clubhouse and press-box access for BBWAA members. In addition, BBWAA members also elect players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which is the organization's most public function. All writers with 10 continuous years of membership in the BBWAA, plus active BBWAA membership at any time in the preceding 10 years, are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame. The BBWAA also votes annually for the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Most Valuable Player Award, Cy Young Award, Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, and Manager of the Year Award in each of the two major leagues. The Hall of Fame also empowers the BBWAA's Historical Overview Committee, made up of 11 or 12 veteran BBWAA members, to formulate the annual ballot for the Veterans Committee.
Considering the ready availability of television broadcasts for the majority of baseball games, plus instant access to information through the Internet, some have called into question why the BBWAA has not broadened its membership rules to include broadcasters and researchers. (Similar arguments were made for the inclusion of Web-based journalists, before the BBWAA added Web writers to its ranks in December 2007.)
Others have openly questioned why the BBWAA is involved in the award and Hall of Fame voting processes at all, citing in some cases journalistic integrity and the need to remain unbiased in their coverage of newsworthy events.
The BBWAA's most public function is to annually vote on candidates for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In addition, the BBWAA is responsible for voting on several annual awards in each major league, including:
From 1953 to 1962, the BBWAA presented a "Sophomore of the Year Award" in each league.
In 1997, a 36-member BBWAA panel selected the Major League Baseball All-Time Team.
Replicas of various BBWAA awards and lists of past winners are displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in the Records Room, which also has other exhibits, including charts showing active and all-time leaders in various baseball statistical categories.
The annual J. G. Taylor Spink Award is the highest award given by the BBWAA. The award is open to both BBWAA members and nonmembers, but only one winner—Roger Angell of The New Yorker, the 2014 recipient—had never been a BBWAA member in his career. Despite having written on baseball for more than a half-century, Angell never worked a specific baseball writing beat, thereby making him ineligible for BBWAA membership.
Names of members are followed by the name of the organization for whom they write.
Note: The New York Times, The Washington Post and Baltimore Sun writers have stated that they are no longer permitted to vote by their employers. The Los Angeles Times has a similar policy, though it appears to be negotiable.
A-Rod picked up the hardware at the 87th annual New York baseball writers' dinner Saturday night.
The winner is presented with the [Terry Ryan Award] at the annual Baseball Writers Association of America Diamond Awards along with many other prestigious Twins awards.
[She] was elected president ... at the annual World Series meeting of the BBWAA.
A member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Smith has written about sports for over 25 years, for the Philadelphia Bulletin, Hartford Courant, The New York Times, and Philadelphia Inquirer. For over 20 years, her beat was Major League Baseball. In July 2007, she started in a new direction and new industry when she joined ESPN as a news editor, working with the production teams on MLB game broadcasts.
"Baseball Writers Unite." Washington Post, October 15, 1908, p. 9.
He served for many years as an officer of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and was chairman of the New York chapter in 1969-70.
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1963 followed a system established for odd-number years after the 1956 election.
Namely, the baseball writers were voting on recent players only in even-number years.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players. It selected four people: 19th-century 300-game winner John Clarkson, turn-of-the-century outfielder Elmer Flick, 266-game winner Eppa Rixey, and outfielder Sam Rice, who had 2987 career hits.
Following the death of J. G. Taylor Spink in December, the Baseball Writers' Association of America inaugurated the Spink Award honoring a baseball writer. It would be conferred as part of the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, which would help ensure at least one living, honored guest. Spink was the first recipient, deceased.Bob Addie
Robert Addie (February 6, 1910 – January 18, 1982) was an American sportswriter who covered baseball for The Washington Post and Washington Times-Herald. Addie was known for his clean style, hilarious anecdotes, unabashed sentiment, red socks and dark glasses. He never missed a day on the Washington Senators' beat for 20 years until the team left town in 1971. Addie was presented with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 1981. Bob covered the PGA after baseball moved from Washington. Bob wrote many articles for the Post after his retirement from the paper in 1977. He wrote a book about his sportswriting career entitled Sportswriter which was published in 1980.Earl Lawson (sportswriter)
Earl Lawson (February 1, 1923 – January 14, 2003) was an American sportswriter for newspapers in Cincinnati, Ohio. He covered the Cincinnati Reds from 1949 to 1984 and was inducted into the "writers wing" of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1985.
In 1949, Lawson first began covering the Cincinnati Reds for the Cincinnati Times-Star. He was the beat reporter for the Reds at the Times-Star from 1951 to 1958 and at The Cincinnati Post from 1958 to 1984. Lawson had a series of run-ins with the Reds in his early year as a beat reporter covering the team. In June 1953, manager Rogers Hornsby barred Lawson from the locker room after Lawson questioned Hornsby's decision not to replace a pitcher. In June 1957, Lawson got into a fight with Reds' second baseman Johnny Temple after a game in which Lawson, who also served as official scorer, charged Temple with a fielding error. Temple reportedly greeted Lawson with a "blistering barrage of profanity" and knocked Lawson to the ground before other players separated them. In June 1962, Reds' star outfielder Vada Pinson punched Lawson on the chin after Lawson wrote an article criticizing the Reds for lackadaisical fielding. Lawson joked to fellow reporters that, based on first-hand knowledge, Pinson was a harder puncher than Temple. After a second incident in September 1963 in which Pinson allegedly grabbed Lawson by the neck and pushed him against a wall, Lawson filed assault and battery charges against Pinson. A trial in December 1963 result in a hung jury. He was also a correspondent for The Sporting News for many years and wrote for The Saturday Evening Post during its days of using iconic Norman Rockwell covers. In 1976, he was elected as the president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
In 1985, Lawson was honored by the Baseball Writers' Association of America with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for distinguished baseball writing. Recipients of the Spink Award are recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in what is commonly referred to as the "writers wing" of the Hall of Fame.In 1987, Lawson published his autobiography, Cincinnati Seasons: My 34 Years With the Reds. Lawson wrote in his autobiography that he had been able to live like a millionaire while being paid to do it. He recalled that he had "mingled with the sports celebrities of the world and formed friendships that I'll cherish forever ... I was a baseball writer."Lawson moved to Sacramento, California, in 2000 to live with his daughter, Lisa Helene Lawson (Damron). In January 2003, he died of cancer and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery July 3, 2003.Edgar Munzel
Edgar Herman Munzel (January 14, 1907 – October 4, 2002), nicknamed "The Mouse," was an American sportswriter who wrote for the Chicago Herald-Examiner and Chicago Sun-Times from 1929 to 1973. In 1978 he was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America for outstanding contributions to baseball writing. He retired to Williamsburg, Virginia.Gordon Cobbledick
Gordon Russell Cobbledick (December 31, 1898 – October 2, 1969), was an American sports journalist and author in Cleveland. He was the sports editor of The Plain Dealer for many years, and posthumously received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest award given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.Hal McCoy
Hal McCoy is an American sportswriter. McCoy was a beat writer for the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio), covering the Cincinnati Reds baseball team. He still covers all Reds home games, writing a blog for the Dayton Daily News and for his own web-site, halmccoy.com. He also writes for pressprosmagazine.com. He was honored by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) in 2002 as the winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded annually at the National Baseball Hall of Fame induction festivities "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." He gained national attention in 2003 when he continued to cover the Reds despite strokes in both his eyes that left him legally blind.J. G. Taylor Spink
John George Taylor Spink (November 6, 1888 – December 7, 1962), or Taylor Spink, was the publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 until his death in 1962. He inherited the weekly American baseball newspaper from his father Charles Spink, younger brother of its founder Alfred H. Spink. Upon Taylor Spink's death in 1962, the Baseball Writers' Association of America established the annual J. G. Taylor Spink Award, given to writers "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing", and made him its first recipient.James Isaminger
James Campbell "Jimmy" Isaminger (December 6, 1880 – June 17, 1946) was an American sportswriter for newspapers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1905 to 1940. He played a major role, along with Hugh Fullerton and Ring Lardner, in breaking the story of the Black Sox scandal in 1919. In 1934, he was elected president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. In September 1940, Isaminger suffered a stroke while attending a baseball game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. He retired after the stroke.Isaminger was born in Hamilton, Ohio and worked for the Cincinnati Times-Star from 1895 to 1905. He died in June 1946 at his home in Maryland.In 1974, Isaminger was posthumously honored by the Baseball Writers' Association of America with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for distinguished baseball writing. Recipients of the Spink Award are recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in what is commonly referred to as the "writers wing" of the Hall of Fame.John Drebinger
John "Drebby" Drebinger (March 23, 1891 – October 22, 1979) was an American sportswriter for The New York Times from 1923 to 1964. He graduated from Curtis High School on Staten Island and went to work for the Staten Island Advance in 1911. In 1973, Drebinger was honored by the Baseball Writers' Association of America with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for distinguished baseball writing. Recipients of the Spink Award are recognized at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in what is commonly referred to as the "writers wing" of the Hall of Fame. In October 1979, he died at a nursing home in North Carolina.Keith Law
Keith Law is a senior baseball writer for ESPN.com and ESPN Scouts, Inc. He was formerly a writer for Baseball Prospectus and worked in the front office for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award
The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an annual Major League Baseball (MLB) award given to one outstanding player in the American League and one in the National League. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The winners receive the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, which became the official name of the award in 1944, in honor of the first MLB commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who served from 1920 until his death on November 25, 1944.MVP voting takes place before the postseason, but the results are not announced until after the World Series. The BBWAA began by polling three writers in each league city in 1938, reducing that number to two per league city in 1961. The BBWAA does not offer a clear-cut definition of what "most valuable" means, instead leaving the judgment to the individual voters.First basemen, with 34 winners, have won the most MVPs among infielders, followed by second basemen (16), third basemen (15), and shortstops (15). Of the 25 pitchers who have won the award, 15 are right-handed while 10 are left-handed. Walter Johnson, Carl Hubbell, and Hal Newhouser are the only pitchers who have won multiple times, Newhouser winning consecutively in 1944 and 1945.Hank Greenberg, Stan Musial, Alex Rodriguez, and Robin Yount have won at different positions, while Rodriguez is the only player who has won the award with two different teams at two different positions. Barry Bonds has won the most often (seven times) and the most consecutively (four: 2001–04). Jimmie Foxx was the first player to win multiple times; 9 players have won three times, and 19 have won twice. Frank Robinson is the only player to win the award in both the American and National Leagues.
The award's only tie occurred in the National League in 1979, when Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell received an equal number of points. There have been 18 unanimous winners, who received all the first-place votes. The New York Yankees have the most winning players with 22, followed by the St. Louis Cardinals with 17 winners. The award has never been presented to a member of the following three teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays.
In recent decades, pitchers have rarely won the award. When Justin Verlander won the AL award in 2011, he became the first pitcher in either league to be named the MVP since Dennis Eckersley in 1992. Verlander also became the first starting pitcher to win this award since Roger Clemens accomplished the feat in 1986. The National League went even longer without an MVP award to a pitcher. After Bob Gibson won in 1968, no pitcher in that league was named MVP until Clayton Kershaw in 2014.Montreal Expos Player of the Year
The Montreal Expos Player of the Year award was voted by the Montreal chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) at the end of each season, until the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C., US, following the 2004 season.Murray Chass
Murray Chass (born October 12, 1938, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American baseball blogger. He previously wrote for The New York Times and before that the Associated Press on baseball and sports legal and labor relations. In 2003 the Baseball Writers' Association of America honored him with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award. He was effectively ousted from the Times in April 2008.
Chass graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1960 with a bachelor's degree in political science where he was a writer and editor for the Pitt News. In 1956 he "audaciously" made an appointment with the editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to pursue his "future of a newspaperman". He joined the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 1962, when he worked for the Associated Press in Pittsburgh. He joined the New York Times in 1969, and started covering the New York Yankees the following year. In 1986, he was made the paper's national baseball writer.From 1979–1980 he served as chairman of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Chass has authored numerous books on the business, labor and legal relations of sports, baseball in particular, among his works: The Yankees: The Four Fabulous Eras of Baseball's Most Famous Team, which was published by Random House in 1979; Power Football, published by Dutton in 1973, and Pittsburgh Steelers: The Long Climb, published by Prentice Hall in 1973. He has contributed to Great Pro Football Games and Greatest Basketball Games. He also authored several articles in Dutton's Best Sports Stories series.Chass is a noted baseball traditionalist who laments the shift in baseball news coverage from daily beat-report biographies to more statistics-driven analysis like sabermetrics. In 2007, Chass asserted that, among "certain topics that should be off-limits," are "statistics mongers promoting VORP and other new-age baseball statistics." Chass particularly believes that in "their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into the game," these "statistics mongers" threaten "to undermine most fans' enjoyment of baseball and the human factor therein." Baseball Prospectus editor Nate Silver published an open letter responding to Chass' comments.In 2008, Chass started an online blog, "Murray Chass on Baseball". In 2011, Chass published a controversial blog accusing St. Louis Cardinals great Stan Musial of racism. The claim was based on a second-hand story allegedly relayed to Chass by former players' union head Marvin Miller in which a maitre d' at a restaurant of which Musial was a co-owner purportedly refused to seat Curt Flood and several of Musial's African-American ex-teammates on the owner's "instructions." Chass' blog was roundly criticized for its sole reliance on hearsay, and Flood's son later specifically refuted the accusation against Musial.Chass is a voter for the Baseball Hall of Fame, and turned in a blank ballot for the 2017 HOF class.Paul Hagen (sportswriter)
Paul Hagen (born ca. 1950) is an American sports columnist who covers baseball.
Hagen attended Ohio University. He began his career in 1974 working in San Bernardino, California, where he covered the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years. Hagen also worked in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for ten years covering the Texas Rangers for the Dallas Times-Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He then worked for 25 years in Philadelphia covering the Philadelphia Phillies for the Philadelphia Daily News, starting in 1987. He now works for MLB.com, as a national reporter focusing on the Phillies.Hagen was named the 2013 recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America in December 2012, and formally received the award on July 27, 2013 at the annual Hall of Fame Awards Presentation in Cooperstown, New York. The presentation took place the day before the Hall's induction ceremony for its 2013 class.Philadelphia Phillies annual franchise awards
The Philadelphia Phillies annual franchise awards have been given since 2004 by the Philadelphia chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America to four members of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise for "season-ending achievements." The awards were created by Bucks County Courier Times Phillies beat writer Randy Miller, who also served as the chairman of the BBWAA's Philadelphia chapter. Winners receive a glass trophy shaped like home plate. In 2014, a fifth award was added: the Charlie Manuel Award for Service and Passion to Baseball.Ray Kelly (sportswriter)
Raymond Kelly (January 24, 1914 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States – November 22, 1988 in Philadelphia) was a sportswriter who worked 50 years for the Philadelphia Bulletin. He covered the Philadelphia Athletics from 1948 to 1955 and the Philadelphia Phillies from 1956 until he retired in 1979.
A president of both the Philadelphia and national chapters of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Kelly was a posthumous recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award at the 1989 induction ceremonies at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The Philadelphia Old Timers' Soccer Association inducted Kelly into its Hall of Fame in 1985.
He died at age 74 at Nazareth Hospital in Philadelphia and was cremated.Rick Hummel
Rick Hummel (born February 25, 1946 in Quincy, Illinois) is an American author and sports columnist best known for his work for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Hummel was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 2007 when he was honored with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. Known throughout baseball by his nickname "The Commish", he is a former President of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.Sheldon Ocker
Sheldon Ocker is an American sportswriter.
Ocker attended Buchtel High School in Akron, Ohio, graduating in 1960. He attended Ohio State University, and graduated with a degree in political science in 1964. He worked for one year at the Sandusky Register, and was hired by the Akron Beacon Journal in 1967. For the Beacon Journal, he covered high school sports for three years, the Cleveland Cavaliers for ten years, and covered the Cleveland Indians from 1981 through 2013. He was the President of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in 1985. Ocker was named the 2018 winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award.Susan Slusser
Susan Slusser is an American sportswriter who works for the San Francisco Chronicle, covering the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball. She was the first woman to serve as president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.