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SAN DIEGO — The late Nick Cafardo treasured the relationships he built during the nearly four decades he covered baseball, particularly with his fellow writers.

Cafardo was a friend and confidant to so many of them, rising above the daily tumult of the business to offer praise or encouragement when he thought it was needed.

On Tuesday, many of those same journalists paid Cafardo their ultimate tribute when he was named the winner of the 71st J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

Cafardo joined former Globe colleagues Dan Shaughnessy (2016), Larry Whiteside (2008), and Peter Gammons (2004) as winners of the award, which is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

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The Globe’s Harold Kaese (1976) and Tim Murnane (1978) were previous winners.

Cafardo will be recognized July 25 during the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Cooperstown, N.Y. His family will represent him.

Nick’s son Ben Cafardo, who works in public relations for ESPN, was present when the announcement was made at the Winter Meetings and received a standing ovation.

“Our family is bursting with gratitude and pride,” he said. “My dad loved the game, he loved writing about the game, and most of all, he loved the camaraderie of the baseball writing community.

“He respected his peers immensely, so he would view this recognition from them as the ultimate honor.”

Cafardo received 243 of the 427 votes cast. Jim Reeves, a longtime columnist with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, received 108 votes and Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune had 76.

Cafardo died unexpectedly on Feb. 21 of this year while covering the Red Sox during spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 62 and in his 30th year with the Globe.

“Nick’s love of baseball was certainly on display in his final days,” Shaughnessy said. “During the seven-hour, 18-inning Game 3 of the [2018] World Series in Los Angeles, as the clock struck midnight and many were complaining about another inning, Nick turned to us before the top of the 18th and said, ‘Isn’t this great?’

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“The game ended at 3:30 a.m. Boston time, and if you went to Oak Square in Brighton the next morning at 7 a.m., you could buy a Globe with Nick’s account of the game. A total professional and lover of baseball, to the end.”

Cafardo covered baseball for the majority of his career, switching over to the Patriots beat for a time before going back to the Sox and familiar terrain.

His preferred surroundings were a ballpark where he could work players, coaches, scouts, and even an occasional vendor or clubhouse attendant for nuggets of information he turned into nationally read stories.

“Nick was the Globe’s go-to guy whenever we needed commentary or analysis for any story that came up with the Red Sox or in Major League Baseball,” Globe sports editor Matt Pepin said. “He almost always responded to requests with, ‘Yeah I can do that’ or ‘Coming right up.’

“There was no one you’d rather work with on trade deadline day. But he was just as committed to the day-to-day narrative of baseball. The Globe and its readers were so lucky to have him.”

Cafardo was supposed to take a day off on Feb. 21 but was at JetBlue Park because he wanted to ask Red Sox manager Alex Cora a few questions about a story he was working on.

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That was typical.

“Nick’s dedication to his job was unsurpassed,” former Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan said. “He rarely took time off, and when he did, most of the time, it was because we forced him to do it.

“He had a great network of sources. I often pictured veteran, grizzled scouts speaking to him in whispered tones. Those connections, plus his great knowledge and understanding of baseball, produced high-quality stories for the readers of the Globe.”


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.