Spink’s name stripped from Hall of Fame award over racism

NEW YORK (AP) — The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has voted to remove the name of J.G. Taylor Spink, former publisher of The Sporting News, from the award given annually by baseball’s Hall of Fame for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

The BBWAA said Friday that 325 of 334 voters, 97%, had voted to remove the name following research into racism by Spink. The award voted on annually by BBWAA members will now be known as the BBWAA Career Excellence Award.

Spink was publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 until he died in 1962.

The change followed the October decision to remove the name of former baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis from the annual Most Valuable Player Award plaque.

Proposals to rename the awards were made last July by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic for the MVP award and Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle for the Spink Award.

In a story by The Associated Press in June, former MVP winners Barry Larkin, Mike Schmidt and Terry Pendleton said they favored pulling Landis’ name from the MVP award plaque because of concerns over his handling of Black players. The BBWAA announced in October that 89% of 311 voters had voted to remove Landis’ name,

Jenkins researched evidence of racism by Spink starting last summer, and The Sporting News endorsed the name change last month.

Senior writer Ryan Fagan wrote then: “Spink was the publisher of the largest, most powerful baseball publication in the country for nearly half a century, and he used that position to strongly advocate against the integration of the sport.”

Fagan wrote 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.”

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