The Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced Friday that it has voted to remove J.G. Taylor Spink’s name from its award given out for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
The award, voted upon annually by the BBWAA, is traditionally bestowed upon the winner during the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Spink was the publisher of The Sporting News, long the premier baseball publication in America, from 1914 until his death in ’62. Many of the sport’s greatest scribes, from Ring Lardner and Grantland Rice to Shirley Povich and Peter Gammons and many more, have been honored with the award.
“This action was not taken lightly,” read an official statement released by BBWAA president C. Trent Rosecrans. “It was put to a vote after substantial research and conversation with and among members. That research showed, in the words of Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News, that Spink’s Sporting News contained ‘racist language, ugly stereotypes and derogatory portrayals of Negro League players and other Black Americans during Spink’s time as publisher, especially in the era before Jackie Robinson made his MLB debut in 1947.’
“The BBWAA does not feel that Spink’s words and actions upholds our values as an organization nor do they reflect what we should recognize for our highest honor.”
The BBWAA has chosen not to replace Spink with another namesake for the time being. Thus, the honor will now be referred to as the BBWAA Career Excellence Award.