BBWAA Career Excellence Award

From BR Bullpen

The BBWAA Career Excellence Award, formerly the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, is an award given annually "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." Balloting is conducted among member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and while winners are usually members of the BBWAA, it is not a requirement to receive the award. It is the oldest media award given by the Hall of Fame. The award was established in 1962 and J.G. Taylor Spink was the first recipient, receiving the award posthumously the year he passed away.

However, in the 21st century, Spink's association with the award became a growing embarrassment, as his overt racism and opposition to baseball's integration became better known. On February 5, 2021, the BBWAA announced the results of a vote of its members, in which 97% of those voting were in favor of dropping Spink's name from the award.

Winners receive the award and are not elected to the Hall, much like the Ford C. Frick Award. Recipients are often, even if erroneously, referred to as "Hall of Famers" and are said to be recognized as "being inducted in the writers' wing" when, in fact, their names are immortalized on a plaque in the Hall of Fame library. Even with these caveats, the award is highly prestigious.

The award was given to multiple writers regularly in the 1970s. Since 1982, multiple recipients have only happened twice. In 1994, there was no recipient. In 2007, the BBWAA changed the date of the award to reflect the year of the induction ceremony in which the award was presented. Thus, the 2006 winner, Rick Hummel, gave his speech at the 2007 Induction Ceremonies. It can be awarded posthumously.

In 2003, the Hall of Fame began to announce three finalists and their vote totals among BBWAA voters. It is generally accepted that previous finalists have an advantage in subsequent elections.

Spink Award winners are invited to give a speech at the Hall of Fame inductions the year after their award. This has sometimes taken place as part of the main induction ceremony, and sometimes at a separate event held a day earlier.

Award Winners[edit]

Year Writer City First BBWAA Year
1962 J.G. Taylor Spink St. Louis, Missouri 1912
1963 Ring Lardner New York, New York 1910
1964 Hugh Fullerton New York, New York 1908
1965 Charles Dryden Chicago, Illinois 1909
1966 Grantland Rice New York, New York 1912
1967 Damon Runyon New York, New York 1911
1968 Harry G. Salsinger Detroit, Michigan 1909
1969 Sid Mercer New York, New York 1909
1970 Heywood C. Broun New York, New York 1911
1971 Frank Graham New York, New York 1915
1972 Dan Daniel New York, New York 1913
Fred Lieb New York, New York 1911
J. Roy Stockton St. Louis, Missouri 1922
1973 Warren Brown Chicago, Illinois 1922
John Drebinger New York, New York 1923
John F. Kieran New York, New York 1922
1974 John Carmichael Chicago, Illinois 1932
James Isaminger Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1908
1975 Tom Meany New York, New York 1924
Shirley Povich Washington, D.C. 1925
1976 Harold Kaese Boston, Massachusetts 1934
Red Smith New York, New York 1929
1977 Gordon Cobbledick Cleveland, Ohio 1928
Edgar Munzel Chicago, Illinois 1929
1978 Tim Murnane Boston, Massachusetts 1908
Dick Young New York, New York 1943
1979 Bob Broeg St. Louis, Missouri 1942
Tommy Holmes Brooklyn, New York 1923
1980 Joe Reichler New York, New York 1944
Milton Richman New York, New York 1946
1981 Allen Lewis Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1950
Bob Addie Washington, D.C. 1942
1982 Si Burick Dayton, Ohio 1946
1983 Ken Smith New York, New York 1927
1984 Joe McGuff Kansas City, Missouri 1955
1985 Earl Lawson Cincinnati, Ohio 1949
1986 Jack Lang Brooklyn, New York 1946
1987 Jim Murray Los Angeles, California 1961
1988 Bob Hunter Los Angeles, California 1958
Ray Kelly Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1946
1989 Jerome Holtzman Chicago, Illinois 1957
1990 Phil Collier San Diego, California 1962
1991 Ritter Collett Dayton, Ohio 1947
1992 Leonard Koppett New York, New York 1951
Bus Saidt Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1967
1993 Wendell Smith Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1948
1994 No Award Given n/a n/a
1995 Joseph Durso New York, New York 1964
1996 Charley Feeney New York, New York 1946
1997 Sam Lacy Washington, D.C. 1934
1998 Bob Stevens San Francisco, California 1940
1999 Hal Lebovitz Cleveland, Ohio 1946
2000 Ross Newhan Los Angeles, California 1961
2001 Joe Falls Detroit, Michigan 1945
2002 Hal McCoy Dayton, Ohio 1961
2003 Murray Chass New York, New York 1962
2004 Peter Gammons Boston, Massachusetts 1979
2005 Tracy Ringolsby Denver, Colorado 1976
2006 Rick Hummel St. Louis, Missouri 1982
2007 No Award n/a n/a
2008 Larry Whiteside Boston, Massachusetts 1970
2009 Nick Peters San Francisco, California 1964
2010 Bill Madden New York, New York 1972
2011 Bill Conlin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1966
2012 Bob Elliott Toronto, Ontario 1978
2012 Paul Hagen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2013 Roger Angell New York, New York not a member
2014 Tom Gage Detroit, Michigan
2015 Dan Shaughnessy Boston, Massachusetts
2016 Claire Smith Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2017 Sheldon Ocker Akron, Ohio
2018 Jayson Stark Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2019 Nick Cafardo Boston, Massachusetts
2020 Dick Kaegel St. Louis, Missouri
2021 Tim Kurkjian Darnesdown, Maryland
2022 John Lowe Detroit, Michigan
2023 Gerry Fraley Clearwater, Florida

Further Reading[edit]

  • Associated Press: "Spink's name stripped from Hall of Fame award over racism", USA Today, February 5, 2021. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "It’s time to remove J.G. Taylor Spink's name off baseball writers' award over his racist views", USA Today, July 1, 2020. [2]