J. G. Taylor Spink
J. G. Taylor Spink (1911).jpg
Spink in 1911
Born
John George Taylor Spink

(1888-11-06)November 6, 1888
DiedDecember 7, 1962(1962-12-07) (aged 74)
Resting placeBellefontaine Cemetery
NationalityAmerican
OccupationPublisher
Known forThe Sporting News
J. G. Taylor Spink Award

John George Taylor Spink (November 6, 1888 – December 7, 1962), commonly known as J. G. Taylor Spink or Taylor Spink, was the publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 until his death in 1962. He inherited the weekly American baseball newspaper from his father Charles Spink, younger brother of its founder Alfred H. Spink. In 1962, the Baseball Writers' Association of America established an annual J. G. Taylor Spink Award and named him the first recipient; Spink's name was removed from the award in February 2021 due to his history of supporting segregated baseball.[1]

Biography

Spink was born on November 6, 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles and Marie (née Taylor) Spink. Charles had acquired The Sporting News from its founder, his brother Alfred H. Spink.[2] In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Gerald Holland described Spink's mother as "a great character in her own right".[3] In 1913, Spink was an official scorer for the World Series between the Philadelphia Athletics and the New York Giants.[4]

Taylor Spink is first-class. Everything he does is first-class. He travels first-class, he works first-class. He nightclubs first-class and he tips first-class. His paper is first-class. He demands the best and he gets it.

—Spink on himself[3]

Taylor Spink inherited The Sporting News when his father died in 1914; he would run The Sporting News for nearly a half-century, until his own death.[2] Author Richard Peterson credits his leadership as a reason why the paper became "the Bible of baseball".[5] During his tenure, The Sporting News published its first Baseball Register in 1940.[6] Spink was known for ruling the paper with "an iron will and an iron fist", working every day of the week and making phone calls at any time of day,[7] often so loudly that "he really didn't need a telephone."[8]

On the issue of racial integration in baseball, Spink wrote an editorial titled "No Good From Raising Race Issue", published in August 1942, which read in part: ""There is no law against Negroes playing with white teams, or whites with colored clubs, but neither has invited the other for the obvious reason they prefer to draw their talent from their own ranks, and because the leaders of both groups know their crowd psychology and do not care to run the risk of damaging their own game."[9][10] In 1947, Spink published his biography of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first Commissioner of Baseball, titled Judge Landis and 25 Years of Baseball.[11]

Spink died on December 7, 1962, at his home in Clayton, Missouri,[12] and is buried in a mausoleum at Bellefontaine Cemetery.[2] Upon his death, The Sporting News passed to his son, C. C. Johnson Spink.[2]

Legacy

In 1962, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) inaugurated an annual award "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing"; the BBWAA named it the J. G. Taylor Spink Award and honored Spink as the first recipient.[1] Recipients of the award are recognized at annual National Baseball Hall of Fame ceremonies.[1] In February 2021, the BBWAA voted to remove his name from the award,[a] "due to Spink’s troubled history in supporting segregated baseball."[1][13][14]

In 1969, Spink was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.[15] As of 1970, the Topps Minor League Player of the Year Award was also named in honor of Spink.[16] Circa 1974, Spink's son published a collection of stories about his father, titled Taylor Spink... The Legend and The Man.[17] A third award bearing Spink's name, dating to at least the early 1960s,[8] recognizes a player as "St. Louis baseball man of the year"; winners have included Willie McGee for the 1985 season,[18] and Jack Flaherty for the 2019 season.[19]

Notes

  1. ^ The award was renamed as the BBWAA Career Excellence Award.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "BBWAA Career Excellence Award". baseballhall.org. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "Spink Family Mausoleum". Bellefontaine Cemetery. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Holland, Gerald (February 27, 1991). "'Taylor Spink is First Class'". Sports Illustrated. Time Warner: 11–12. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015 – via Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide for ... {1913}. American Sports Publishing. 1913. pp. 77–79.
  5. ^ Richardson, Richard F. (2006). The St. Louis Baseball Reader. University of Missouri Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8262-6558-6.
  6. ^ Gietschier, Steve. "Henry Chadwick Award: J.G. Taylor Spink". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  7. ^ Melody, Tom (April 9, 1986). "A century of figures and facts". Orlando Sentinel. p. C5. Retrieved December 14, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b Broeg, Bob (December 9, 1962). "Sports Comment: J.G.T.S". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 3G. Retrieved December 14, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "'42:' How Sporting News covered Jackie Robinson". sportingnews.com. April 10, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  10. ^ Lamb, Chris (August 18, 2006). "A reporter's role in breaking baseball's color barrier". The Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Publishing Society.
  11. ^ Smith, Claire (July 17, 1990). "Vincent hits books on baseball cases". Miami Herald. The New York Times. p. 3D. Retrieved December 14, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Taylor Spink Dies". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. AP. December 7, 1962. p. 1. Retrieved December 12, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  13. ^ "BBWAA removes J.G. Taylor Spink's name from Hall of Fame writing award over racist language". ESPN.com. February 5, 2021. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  14. ^ Lucia, Joe (February 5, 2021). "BBWAA removes JG Taylor Spink's name from annual award, renames it as "Career Excellence Award"". Awful Announcing.
  15. ^ "J. G. Taylor Spink In Hall of Fame". The Boston Globe. UPI. April 2, 1969. p. 49. Retrieved October 13, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  16. ^ "Awards By Topps To Continue". The Berkshire Eagle. Pittsfield, Massachusetts. April 14, 1970. p. 17. Retrieved December 13, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  17. ^ Condon, David (September 4, 1974). "Taylor Spink was a man for all seasons, hours". Chicago Tribune. p. 3-3. Retrieved December 14, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  18. ^ "Honors for two Card MVPs". San Francisco Examiner. AP. February 4, 1986. p. F8. Retrieved December 14, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  19. ^ Hummel, Rick (November 30, 2019). "Flaherty will be among those honored next month". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. B7. Retrieved December 14, 2020 – via newspapers.com.