Jayson Stark, who for more than four decades has exhibited passion and humor in equal measure in his baseball coverage, was elected the 2019 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 19-22, 2019, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Stark received 270 votes from the 463 ballots, including two blanks, cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service in becoming the 70th 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.”
Jim Reeves, an award-winning columnist and baseball writer in a 40-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, received 111 votes. Patrick Reusse, who has spent the better part of 44 years writing about baseball in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, got 80.
Now writing for The Athletic and appearing regularly on MLB Network, Stark made his mark in Philadelphia for 21 years as a Phillies beat writer and national baseball columnist for the Inquirer and nationally for 17 years as senior baseball writer at ESPN.com. His popular “Baseball Week in Review” is a master example of that baseball writing staple – the notes column – in which Jayson has been a curator for all things weird, wacky, unique, statistically inclined and historically rare in the game.
Stark is equally at home in long-form writing and has authored three books, Wild Pitches: Rumblings, Grumblings and Reflections on the Game I Love; Worth the Wait: Tales of the 2008 Phillies and The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History. The Syracuse University graduate had his first taste of big-league coverage for the Providence Journal on the Boston Red Sox beat before returning to his home town to cover the Phillies, including their first World Series championship in 1980. Twice named Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year and an Emmy Award winner for his work on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight,” Jayson was honored by Topps in 2017 with his own baseball card.