J. G. Taylor Spink Award
The J. G. Taylor Spink Award is the highest award given by the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). The award was instituted in 1962 and named after J. G. Taylor Spink, publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 to 1962, who was also the first recipient. The recipient does not have to be a member of the BBWAA, but every recipient from the award's inception through 2013 had been a BBWAA member at some time; the first recipient to have never have been a member was 2014 recipient Roger Angell.
The Spink Award is presented at the induction festivities of the Baseball Hall of Fame in the year following the selection of the recipient. Through 2010, the award was presented during the actual induction ceremony; since then, it has been presented at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation, held the day before the induction ceremony. In recent years, the Hall of Fame has announced the finalists for the award and final vote totals. Previously, the results were kept secret.
Winners are not considered to be members of the Hall. They are not "inducted" or "enshrined", but are permanently recognized in an exhibit at the Hall's library. For several years in the early 2000s, Spink Award honorees became life members of the Veterans Committee, which elects players whose eligibility for BBWAA consideration has ended, and is also the sole body that elects non-players for induction into the Hall. Starting with elections for induction in 2008, voting on the main Veterans Committee, which then selected only players whose careers began in 1943 or later, was restricted to Hall of Fame members. After further changes announced for the 2011 and 2017 elections, Spink Award winners are eligible to serve on all of the era-based voting bodies that replaced the Veterans Committee (three from 2011 to 2016, and four from 2017 forward).
Recipients of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Note: For the years below — through 2006 — the year reflects when the recipient was announced; the award is formally presented the following year. In 2007, the BBWAA changed the year designation for the award to coincide with the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, i.e., the year after the award is announced. This makes it appear as though 2007 was skipped, though it was not.
The award has received immense scrutiny given the relative ambiguity and subjective use of the "character clause" that is exercised by many baseball writers when voting players into the Hall of Fame, a stipulation that is not included in the Spink honor. Most notoriously, writer and alleged child molester Bill Conlin (1934–2014) received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in July 2011, which not rescinded even after multiple allegations of sexual assault from family members, coupled with his immediate resignation from the Philadelphia Daily News in December 2011 when allegations became known, and Conlin never denying or challenging the accusations.
Similarly named award
This award should not be confused with the identically named J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded to the Minor League Player of the Year by the Topps Company, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball.
- Honor Rolls of Baseball (writers)
- Dick McCann Memorial Award - sports writers (Pro Football Hall of Fame)
- U.S. major leagues: Awards by organizations other than MLB
- "Roger Angell Wins Spink Award" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- Reimer, Alex. "BBWAA Must Remove Character Clause If Alleged Child Molester Bill Conlin Stays In Hall Of Fame".
- "Four say Philly Daily News writer Bill Conlin sexually abused them as children".
- See Baseball awards#U.S. minor leagues and Wild, Danny (October 28, 2009). "Giants' Posey wins '09 Spink Award: Catcher skipped Double-A, dominated at San Jose, Fresno". Minor League Baseball (MiLB.com). Retrieved 2010-06-09. See also MLB 2009 Awards (MLB.com/News/Awards/2009 Awards). MLB Advanced Media, L.P. (MLB.com). Retrieved 2010-06-09.