Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, who has been a major voice on baseball in New England and nationally for 35 years, was elected the 2016 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s induction weekend July 22-25, 2016, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Shaughnessy received 185 votes from the 417 ballots, including one blank, cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service in becoming the 67th winner of the award since its inception in 1962 and named for the first recipient. Spink was a driving force of The Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the “Baseball Bible.”
The late Furman Bisher, who wrote more than 15,000 columns in a 59-year career for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, received 157 votes. Juan Vene, who for more than 60 years both in print and on the airwaves has connected strongly with baseball fans throughout Latin America, got 74.
Shaughnessy, 62, came to the Globe in 1981 after four years of covering baseball for the Baltimore Evening Sun and Washington Star. The Holy Cross College graduate has covered more than 35 spring trainings and 25 World Series. Shaughnessy has written 12 books, nine of them on baseball, notably Curse of the Bambino. He also popularized the phrase, “Red Sox Nation.”
Through his columns, Dan has taken on owners, front offices, managers, coaches and players alike in pertinent issues through good times and bad with the Red Sox. He has covered three championship Red Sox teams, the heartbreaking 1986 season and wrote some of the most eloquent prose in 2004 after Boston ended its 86-year title drought.
In 2006, Shaughnessy wrote a column which forced Theo Epstein to resign as Red Sox general manager. Dan wrote a book on high school baseball; covered high school, NCAA and Cape Cod League baseball, and delivered talks on baseball at the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Shaughnessy was the last writer to interview Ted Williams, in 2002, and had exclusive access to Williams in his final years.
Shaughnessy became the fifth Boston-based writer to be honored. He joined Harold Kaese and Tim Murnane, plus his former Globe colleagues Peter Gammons and Larry Whiteside.