Paul Hagen Wins Spink Award

December 04, 2012
2013 J.G. Taylor Spink Award Winner Paul Hagen. (David Bergman/NBHOF Library)

Paul Hagen, whose baseball writing career has spanned 40 years, including the past 26 as an authoritative analytical voice in Philadelphia, was elected the 2013 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s induction weekend July 26-29 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Hagen received 269 votes from the 421 ballots, including five blanks, cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service in becoming the 64th winner of the award since its inception in 1962 and named for the first recipient. Spink was a driving force of The Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the “Baseball Bible.”

Jim Hawkins, whose coverage of the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball extended over four decades, received 87 votes. Russell Schneider, a fixture of baseball coverage in Cleveland for half a century and the author of 13 books on the game, got 60.

The candidates were selected by a three-member, BBWAA-appointed committee and announced during the All-Star Game meeting July 10 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Voting was conducted in November through a mail ballot, a process that began in 2002.

Hagen has carved out a reputation as a tireless reporter, always willing to wait out a player for that extra quote or put in that extra phone call and wait for hours for a return call – anything for that extra detail or piece of reporting that will make a story and serve a reader well.

A graduate of Ohio University, Hagen began his baseball writing career with the San Bernardino Sun covering the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974. Three years later, he started a decade’s worth of coverage of the Texas Rangers for the Dallas Times Herald and the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

In 1987, Paul moved on to the Philadelphia Daily News where he covered the Philadelphia Phillies for 15 seasons before becoming the paper’s national baseball columnist in 2002.  In addition to his regular workload of features and columns, Hagen specialized in in-depth takeouts such as a three-part series in 2007 examining why the Phillies had been so unsuccessful for so long, a Q&A with Supreme Court Justice – and Phillies fan – Samuel Alito, and a 2011 assessment of the fall of former Phillies center fielder Lenny Dykstra.

An enthusiastic member of the BBWAA, Paul served as national president in 2003 and on various other committees, including the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee on Executives in 2007. 

Previous Spink Award Recipients 

2012 Bob Elliott; 2011 Bill Conlin; 2010 Bill Madden; 2009 Nick Peters; 2008 Larry Whiteside; 2006 Rick Hummel; 2005 Tracy Ringolsby; 2004 Peter Gammons; 2003 Murray Chass; 2002 Hal McCoy; 2001 Joe Falls; 2000 Ross Newhan; 1999 Hal Lebovitz; 1998 Bob Stevens; 1997 Sam Lacy; 1996 Charley Feeney; 1995 Joseph Durso; 1994 No award; 1993 Wendell Smith; 1992 Leonard Koppett, Bus Saidt; 1991 Ritter Collett; 1990 Phil Collier; 1989 Jerome Holtzman; 1988 Bob Hunter, Ray Kelly; 1987 Jim Murray; 1986 Jack Lang; 1985 Earl Lawson; 1984 Joe McGuff; 1983 Ken Smith; 1982 Si Burick; 1981 Bob Addie, Allen Lewis; 1980 Joe Reichler, Milton Richman; 1979 Bob Broeg, Tommy Holmes; 1978 Tim Murnane, Dick Young; 1977 Gordon Cobbledick, Edgar Munzel; 1976 Harold Kaese, Red Smith; 1975 Tom Meany, Shirley Povich; 1974 John Carmichael, James Isaminger; 1973 Warren Brown, John Drebinger, John F. Kieran; 1972 Dan Daniel, Fred Lieb, J. Roy Stockton; 1971 Frank Graham; 1970 Heywood C. Broun; 1969 Sid Mercer; 1968 H.G. Salsinger; 1967 Damon Runyon; 1966 Grantland Rice; 1965 Charles Dryden; 1964 Hugh Fullerton; 1963 Ring Lardner; 1962 J.G. Taylor Spink.