Baseball Writers' Association of America

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The organizational logo for the Baseball Writers' Association of America BBWAA Logo.png
The organizational logo for the Baseball Writers' Association of America

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) is a professional association for baseball journalists writing for daily newspapers, magazines and qualifying websites.

Contents

Early years

The BBWAA was founded on October 14, 1908, [1] to improve working conditions for sportswriters in the early part of the 20th century; It also sought to promote uniformity of scoring methods, and to professionalize the press box, such that access was limited only to working reporters, telegraphers, and others who had a reason to be there. The forty-three founding members of the Baseball Writers Association first met in mid-October 1908. [2] They included Joe S. Jackson, who became the association's first president. At that time, Jackson was the sporting editor (today called sports editor) of the Detroit Free Press . Also selected as officers were Irving E. Sanborn of the Chicago Tribune , syndicated columnist Hugh Fullerton, and The Boston Globe baseball writer Tim Murnane [3] A second meeting was held in New York City in December; Sanborn decided he could not serve as an officer at that time, and he was replaced by William Weart of the Philadelphia Times . The slate of officers was ratified, and anyone who wrote about baseball in major league cities was eligible for membership. This policy changed, however, in December 1913, at which time it was decided that minor league baseball writers could also become members. [4] Then, Jackson became a dominant force in the early years of the baseball writers, being elected as president of the association during nine consecutive terms. [5] Jackson finally retired in 1919, while Sanborn returned to assume the position of president. After that, Jackson became a member of the BBWAA Board of Directors. [6]

Mission

The organization's primary function is to work with Major League Baseball and individual teams to assure clubhouse and press-box access for BBWAA members. In addition, BBWAA members also elect players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, which is the organization's most public function. All writers with 10 continuous years of membership in the BBWAA, plus active BBWAA membership at any time in the preceding 10 years, are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame. The BBWAA also votes annually for the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Most Valuable Player Award, Cy Young Award, Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, and Manager of the Year Award in each of the two major leagues. The Hall of Fame also empowers the BBWAA's Historical Overview Committee, made up of 11 or 12 veteran BBWAA members, to formulate the annual ballot for the Veterans Committee.

Considering the ready availability of television broadcasts for the majority of baseball games, plus instant access to information through the Internet, some have called into question why the BBWAA has not broadened its membership rules to include broadcasters and researchers. [7] (Similar arguments were made for the inclusion of Web-based journalists, before the BBWAA added Web writers to its ranks in December 2007.) [8]

Others have openly questioned why the BBWAA is involved in the award and Hall of Fame voting processes at all, [9] citing in some cases journalistic integrity and the need to remain unbiased in their coverage of newsworthy events. [10]

Awards voting

The BBWAA's most public function is to annually vote on candidates for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

In addition, the BBWAA is responsible for voting on several annual awards in each major league, including:

In or about 2000, the BBWAA took over the voting responsibility for the Edgar Martínez Award, given each year to the outstanding designated hitter in the American League.

From 1953 to 1962, the BBWAA presented a "Sophomore of the Year Award" in each league. [11]

In 1997, a 36-member BBWAA panel selected the Major League Baseball All-Time Team.

Awards display

Replicas of various BBWAA awards and lists of past winners are displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, in the Records Room, which also has other exhibits, including charts showing active and all-time leaders in various baseball statistical categories.

BBWAA Career Excellence Award

The annual BBWAA Career Excellence Award is the highest award given by the BBWAA. First awarded in 1962 to J. G. Taylor Spink, longtime publisher of The Sporting News , it was named the J. G. Taylor Spink Award until adopting its current name in February 2021. [12] It has been awarded annually for "meritorious contributions to baseball writing", except for one year during the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike. Recipients are not considered members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but are permanently recognized in an exhibit at the Hall's library.

Web membership

In 2007, the BBWAA opened its membership to web-based writers employed on a full-time basis by "websites that are credentialed by MLB for post-season coverage." [8]

Chapter awards

New York chapter

For information about the chapter and its presiding officer, see footnote [13] and Red Foley (past chairman).
National awards presented at chapter dinner
Chapter awards

Other chapters

Presidents

For the list of presidents and secretaries from 1908 to the present, see footnote. [23]

During the 2012 World Series, the Association elected its first female president, Susan Slusser, of the San Francisco Chronicle. [24]

List of current members

Names of members are followed by the name of the organization for whom they write. [25]

Writers for The New York Times , The Washington Post , [26] and The Baltimore Sun [27] have stated that they are no longer permitted to vote by their employers. The Los Angeles Times has a similar policy, [28] though it appears to be negotiable.

See also

Footnotes

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"Baseball Writers Unite." Washington Post, October 15, 1908, p. 9.

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