Bill Madden, who has combined excellent reporting and commentary in a New York City market known for its baseball fever, was elected the 2010 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 induction ceremony July 25 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Madden received 226 votes from the 452 ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service in becoming the 61st 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.”
Bob Elliott, whose writing career is considered strongly influential in the growing popularity of baseball in Canada, received 149 votes. Joe Giuliotti, who for 30 years in Boston was a voracious reporter on all matters concerning the Red Sox, got 76. One blank ballot was among those submitted.
The candidates were selected by a three-member, BBWAA-appointed committee and announced at the All-Star Game meeting July 14 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Voting was conducted in November through a mail ballot, a process that began in 2002.
Madden joined the New York Daily News in 1978 after nine years at United Press International. He was the Daily News’ Yankees beat writer from 1980-88 before becoming the News’ national baseball columnist. Madden has covered 35 World Series and broken numerous stories, among them the Mets’ leaving Tom Seaver unprotected in the free agent compensation pool and losing him to the Chicago White Sox in 1984 and the National League hiring Bill White as the first black league president in pro sports in 1989.
The author of four books on baseball, Madden is currently working on a biography of Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner. From 1975-90, Madden’s Sporting News column on collecting served as a sort of watchdog on the burgeoning sports memorabilia industry. His 1994 exclusive for the Daily News exposing corrupt and fraudulent practices prompted an FBI investigation that resulted in shutting down two prominent auction houses. That same year, his series of reports on the FBI probe and conviction of Darryl Strawberry for memorabilia signings income tax evasion earned Madden an APSE award for excellence in reporting.
A former New York Chapter chairman, Madden is a member of the Hall of Fame Screening Committee for the annual BBWAA ballot and the Historical Overview Committee that formulates the Veterans Committee ballots. He is also on the Veterans Committee electorate for players whose careers began prior to 1943. Madden majored in journalism at the University of South Carolina and lists as his mentors two previous Spink Award winners, Milton Richman at UPI and Dick Young with the Daily News.