The Daily Star
---- — Staff and Wire Reports
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The New Yorker’s Roger Angell won the J.G. Taylor Spink Award on Tuesday for meritorious contributions to baseball writing, the first writer to earn the honor who was never a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“I’m very, very happy,” Angell said during a telephone conference call. “I’m stunned. Very touched. Very grateful.”
BBWAA membership is limited to reporters for newspapers, news agencies and some Internet companies.
The 93-year-old will be honored during the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2014 Induction Weekend, which is set for July 25-28 in Cooperstown. Angell said he will attend the weekend events, which will be highlighted by the inductions of Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. Each retired manager was unanimously elected to the Hall by the Expansion Era Committee on Monday.
“I got oceans of copy from those guys,” Angell said of the managers, who will join those elected to the Hall in January via the BBWAA Players Ballot, if any. “Cooperstown in the middle of summer is great. I can’t wait.”
The BBWAA announced the results of the Spink vote at Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings and said Angell appeared on 258 of 451 ballots cast. The late Furman Bisher, who wrote for 59 years for The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, received 115 votes. Retired syndicated columnist Mel Durslag received 74.
Candidates were selected by a three-member, BBWAA-appointed committee and announced during the All-Star Game meeting July 16 in New York. Voting was conducted in November through a mail ballot, a process that began in 2002.
Angell won the George Polk Award for Commentary in 1980 and the first PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing in 2011.
Many of the native New Yorker’s Sporting Scene pieces are found in his best-selling books, which include The Summer Game (1972), Five Seasons (1977), Late Innings (1982), Season Ticket (1988), Once More Around the Park (1991), A Pitcher’s Story (2001) and Game Time (2003). Angell also wrote revealing profiles of remote superstar Bob Gibson and the mysteriously afflicted Steve Blass.
He spoke to 23 players for a 1981 analysis on hitting, One Tough Way to Make a Living. In his 1971 piece, The Interior Stadium, Angell wrote: “Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young.”
The winner of the Hall’s other major annual media award — the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting — will be announced today.