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Baseball writers vote to strip J.G. Taylor Spink’s name from award over racism

Spink Award winners have been honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.Hans Pennink/Associated Press

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Friday it had dropped the name of former Sporting News publisher J.G. Taylor Spink from its highest honor.

A vote of 325-9 approved the change. It will now be known as the BBWAA Career Excellence Award.

Spink, who died in 1962, was the first winner of the award. The organization decided to consider a change after research done by Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News showed the publication used “racist language, ugly stereotypes and derogatory portrayals of Negro League players and other Black Americans during Spink’s time as publisher.”

That was particularly the case before Jackie Robinson’s major league debut in 1947.


In a statement, the BBWAA said it doesn’t believe “Spink’s words and actions upholds our values as an organization nor do they reflect what we should recognize for our highest honor.”

Previous winners of the award include Globe writers Nick Cafardo (2020), Dan Shaughnessy (2016), Larry Whiteside (2008), Peter Gammons (2004), Tim Murnane (1978), and Harold Kaese (1976).

Peter Abraham can be reached at peter.abraham@globe.com. Follow him @PeteAbe.