WASHINGTON – The Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected late sports-writing pioneer Larry Whiteside to receive the 2008 J.G. Spink Award today for his outstanding contributions in baseball writing.The former sportswriter for The Boston Globe, who died in June of complications from Parkinson’s Disease, became the Globe’s first African-American beat sportswriter and the only African-American in a metropolitan city to cover a Major League Baseball team on a daily basis when he joined the newspaper in 1973.
“This induction couldn’t happen to a more deserving journalist. Larry Whiteside paved the way for so many journalists of color in a section of the industry that still struggles with diversity,” says Barbara Ciara, president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
“He is truly a trailblazer.”
As a recipient of the Spink Award, Whiteside will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on July 27, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
“He was a constant, motivating force in the world of sports journalism and for African-Americans in particular, he was our Jackie Robinson,” says Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Editor Garry Howard, who was among those to cast votes for Whiteside’s award.
“What an honor, what a life. I'm truly ecstatic over this moment, because even though Larry would say humbly, ‘No big deal,’ it truly is, and we at NABJ can, and should, celebrate this moment loud and proudly.”
As a founding member of the NABJ Sports Task Force, Whiteside continues to have a profound impact on today’s sports journalists, an impact that earned him the Sports Task Force’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
“Today, I am so proud that when kids see Larry’s spot in Cooperstown, they can learn his legacy as an outstanding journalist and a pioneer,” says Greg Lee, NABJ treasurer and chairman of the Sports Task Force.
“Larry’s legacy not only lives through the many black journalists who work in newsrooms today, it will live on in the sport he loved so much.”
In addition to the Hall of Fame honor, Whiteside’s family will travel to Kansas City to receive the Sam Lacy Award on his behalf from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on Jan. 12.
Donations for the scholarship established in his honor by the NABJ Sports Task Force can be sent to the National Association of Black Journalists at 8701 Adelphi Blvd, Adelphi, MD 20783-1716.