1971 J. G. Taylor Spink Award Winner Frank Graham

Frank Graham

A gentle craftsman, who gave a new dimension to the daily sports column, Frank Graham covered the Giants for the New York Sun as early as 1916. When he succeeded Joe Vila as the paper's columnist more than 15 years later, he still saw himself as a reporter rather than an authority. Instead of adding his voice to the volume of opinion that filled most columns then, he escorted the reader down to the field, the dugout or the clubhouse to see and hear the intimate details that escape the fan in grandstand or bleachers.

Graham set the pattern for the reportorial column, as distinguished from the editorial essay. His absolute ear for dialogue, his extraordinary memory, and unfailing taste put his "conversation pieces" in a class by themselves. Though his style was widely copied, the simple declarative sentence never served his imitators the way it obeyed him.

Frank left the Sun for a turn as Look magazine's sports editor, retired from that position to write books (biographies of Lou Gehrig, John McGraw, and Al Smith, as well as informal histories of the Giants, Yankees, and Dodgers) and worked his last years as columnist for the New York Journal-American.