1997 J. G. Taylor Spink Award Winner Sam Lacy

Sam Lacy

Sam Lacy, recognized as a pioneer in baseball journalism in becoming one of the first African-American members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, was the 1997 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award.

Lacy's career in print journalism began in the 1920s, working as a sportswriter at the Washington Tribune under the tutelage of editor Lewis Lautier. He was both managing editor and sports editor of the paper from 1934-39, before moving to Chicago to become assistant national editor for the Chicago Defender from 1940-1943. He then returned to his roots in Baltimore to become a columnist and sports editor for the weekly Baltimore Afro-American, where he remained for well over half a century. He authored the widely popular column "A to Z" for many years.

His illustrious career as a sports journalist spanned 17 presidential elections, but it was as a crusader in the 1930s and 1940s, when Lacy's columns were devoted to desegregating baseball in the major leagues, that he made his greatest impact as a journalist.