LAS VEGAS — The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Jayson Stark the winner of the 2019 J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown next July.
Stark, who currently writes for The Athletic, became a household name in baseball writing in Philadelphia, serving as a beat writer and national baseball columnist for the Philly Inquirer and later as a senior baseball writer at ESPN.com. He’s best known for weekly notes columns in which he shares “useless info” and whatever weird and unique stuff that he uncovers, discovers or remembers. He is also the author of three baseball books.
This author will also note that Stark is an extraordinarily nice guy. A lot of people in this business are said to be nice, but — shocker — not everyone called nice is nice. Stark is genuinely nice and is generous with his time and advice. Good for him for earning his profession’s highest honor.
We’ve talked a lot about Curt Schilling’s Hall of Fame candidacy over the years.
Bill has argued that, if voters are going to use the character clause to keep certain players out, they should keep Curt Schilling out. I’ve differed on that, not because I think Schilling is a good person — he’s loathsome, actually — but because I find the character clause to be illegitimate and would never, if I had a vote, use it to impact my vote. So, yes, I’d put Schilling on my ballot if I had one.
I’m not alone in this, of course. At the moment Schilling has support on about 72% of ballots which have been made public. My guess is that he’ll fall a tad short when results are announced tomorrow — non-public ballots tend to include fewer players on them — but we’ll see.
I am not the only non-BBWAA member who would vote for Schilling. He’s got some top level support too. From the President of the United States:
Ballots had to be submitted by December 31, so it’s not like this is gonna have any impact on the vote totals. If it came earlier, though, one wonders if it would. And one wonders if that’d help Schilling or hurt him.