The J. G. Taylor Spink Award is the highest award given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The award was instituted in 1962 and named after J. G. Taylor Spink, publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 to 1962, who was also the first recipient. The recipient does not have to be a member of the BBWAA, but every recipient from the award's inception through 2013 had been a BBWAA member at some time; the first recipient to have never have been a member was 2014 recipient Roger Angell.
The Spink Award is presented at the induction festivities of the Baseball Hall of Fame in the year following the selection of the recipient. Through 2010, the award was presented during the actual induction ceremony; since then, it has been presented at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation, held the day before the induction ceremony. In recent years, the Hall of Fame has announced the finalists for the award and final vote totals. Previously, the results were kept secret.
Winners are not considered to be members of the Hall. They are not "inducted" or "enshrined", but are permanently recognized in an exhibit at the Hall's library. For several years in the early 2000s, Spink Award honorees became life members of the Veterans Committee, which elects players whose eligibility for BBWAA consideration has ended, and is also the sole body that elects non-players for induction into the Hall. Starting with elections for induction in 2008, voting on the main Veterans Committee, which then selected only players whose careers began in 1943 or later, was restricted to Hall of Fame members. After further changes announced for the 2011 and 2017 elections, Spink Award winners are eligible to serve on all of the era-based voting bodies that replaced the Veterans Committee (three from 2011 to 2016, and four from 2017 forward).
Note: For the years below — through 2006 — the year reflects when the recipient was announced; the award is formally presented the following year. In 2007, the BBWAA changed the year designation for the award to coincide with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, i.e., the year after the award is announced. This makes it appear as though 2007 was skipped, though it was not.
|1962||J. G. Taylor Spink||St. Louis|
|1966||Grantland Rice||New York City|
|1967||Damon Runyon||New York City|
|1968||H. G. Salsinger||Detroit|
|1969||Sid Mercer||New York City|
|1970||Heywood Broun||New York City|
|1971||Frank Graham||New York City|
|1972||Dan Daniel||New York City|
|1972||Fred Lieb||New York City|
|1972||J. Roy Stockton||St. Louis|
|1973||John Drebinger||New York City|
|1973||John F. Kieran||New York City|
|1975||Tom Meany||New York City|
|1975||Shirley Povich||Washington, D.C.|
|1976||Red Smith||New York City|
|1978||Dick Young||New York City|
|1979||Bob Broeg||St. Louis|
|1979||Tommy Holmes||New York City|
|1980||Joe Reichler||New York City|
|1980||Milton Richman||New York City|
|1981||Bob Addie||Washington, D.C.|
|1982||Si Burick||Dayton, Ohio|
|1983||Ken Smith||New York City|
|1984||Joe McGuff||Kansas City, Missouri|
|1986||Jack Lang||New York City|
|1987||Jim Murray||Los Angeles|
|1988||Bob Hunter||Los Angeles|
|1990||Phil Collier||San Diego|
|1991||Ritter Collett||Dayton, Ohio|
|1992||Leonard Koppett||New York City|
|1994||(no award presented)||n/a|
|1995||Joe Durso||New York City|
|1996||Charley Feeney||New York City|
|1997||Sam Lacy||Washington, D.C.|
|1998||Bob Stevens||San Francisco|
|2000||Ross Newhan||Los Angeles|
|2002||Hal McCoy||Dayton, Ohio|
|2003||Murray Chass||New York City|
|2006||Rick Hummel||St. Louis|
|2007||(see explanatory note at top of section)||n/a|
|2009||Nick Peters||San Francisco|
|2010||Bill Madden||New York City|
|2013||Paul Hagen||Dallas–Fort Worth/Philadelphia|
|2014||Roger Angell||The New Yorker|
|2017||Claire Smith||New York City|
|2018||Sheldon Ocker||Akron, Ohio|
The award has received immense scrutiny given the relative ambiguity, and subjective use of the 'character clause' that is exercised by many baseball writers when voting players into the Hall of Fame, a stipulation that is not included in the Spink honor. Most notoriously, writer and alleged child molester Bill Conlin received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in 2011 and has since held the title even after multiple allegations of sexual assault from family members, coupled with his immediate resignation from the Daily News and never denying or challenging the accusations.
This award should not be confused with the identically named J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded to the Minor League Player of the Year by the Topps Company, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball.
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.Bus Saidt
Harold N. "Bus" Saidt (November 11, 1920 – April 8, 1989) was an American sports writer who covered the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and the New York Yankees for the Trentonian and the Trenton Times.
He was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1992.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.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.Harold Kaese
Harold William Kaese (March 8, 1909 – May 10, 1975) was an American sports writer who covered mostly baseball in Boston, Massachusetts.
Kaese worked for the Boston Evening Transcript from 1933 to 1941 and the Boston Globe from 1943 to 1973. He covered both the Boston Braves and the Boston Red Sox.
He was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1976.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.J. Roy Stockton
James Roy Stockton (December 16, 1892 – August 24, 1972) was an American sports writer who covered the St. Louis Cardinals from 1915 to 1958. He was hired by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1918, working there for the majority of his career. He also covered the St. Louis Terriers of the Federal League in 1915, served as president of the Florida State League, and was a member of the Veterans Committee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
He was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.Joe Durso
Joseph P. Durso (June 22, 1924 – December 31, 2004) was an American sportswriter for The New York Times from 1950 until his death, most noted for his coverage of baseball. Born in New York City, he was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in 1995.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.Ken Smith (sportswriter)
Kenneth Smith was an American sports writer who covered the New York Giants for the New York Graphic and the New York Mirror from 1925 to 1957. He later served as the director National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and the museum's public relations director from 1976 to 1979.
He was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall in 1983.Milton Richman
Milton Richman (January 29, 1922 – June 9, 1986) was an American sports columnist and sports editor for United Press International. He was named the 1981 winner of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.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.Peter Gammons
Peter Gammons (born April 9, 1945) is an American sportswriter and media personality. He is a recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award for outstanding baseball writing, given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.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.Ritter Collett
Charles Ritter Collett (June 14, 1921 – September 26, 2001), known as Ritter Collett, was a sports editor and columnist for the Dayton Journal-Herald and Dayton Daily News for over fifty years.
Collett, a native of Ironton, Ohio, was the son of Katherine Ritter Collett and Charles L. Collett, the publisher of the Ironton Tribune. He began his career in 1946 for the then-Dayton Journal. After the Journal merged with the Herald in 1948, Collett became the sports editor for the Journal-Herald until 1986, when the paper merged with the Dayton Daily News, and he became sports editor and columnist for that paper.
Collett, along with Bob Prince and Jim Enright created the Hutch Award in honor of Cincinnati Reds manager Fred Hutchinson, awarded by Major League Baseball to an active player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire to win. Collett, a member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America since 1947, was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the BBWAA in 1991. Collett, along with his fellow Dayton Daily News writers Si Burick and Hal McCoy, is among the few writers from a paper in a city without a Major League Baseball team to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Ritter died in September 2001, following neurosurgery.Ross Newhan
Ross Newhan is a former columnist for the Long Beach Press-Telegram and baseball writer for the Los Angeles Times before retiring in 2004. He garnered the 1997 Associated Press Sports Editors Award for his story on the sale of the Dodgers and was given the 2000 J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He is co-author of Coaching Baseball Successfully.His son, David Newhan, is a former Major League Baseball player and later, a coach.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., inducting him into National Baseball Hall of Fame.Tom Gage (journalist)
Tom Gage (born April 2, 1948) is an American sportswriter who worked for The Detroit News as the Detroit Tigers beat writer from 1979 to 2015. Gage was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in 2015.Tommy Holmes (sportswriter)
Thomas Holmes (November 5, 1903 – March 25, 1975) was an American sports writer who covered the Brooklyn Dodgers for the Brooklyn Eagle and the New York Herald-Tribune from 1924 to 1957.
Holmes, who only had one arm, died in March 1975 at age 71; he was survived by his wife and a son.He was posthumously awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, announced in 1979 and inducted in 1980.
J. G. Taylor Spink Award recipients