Gerry Fraley wins 2024 BBWAA Career Excellence Award

The late Gerry Fraley, whose writing style was crisp, insightful, and punchy, matching his feisty temperament, has been elected the 2024 winner of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award. 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 19-22 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Of the 370 ballots, including one blank, cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service, Fraley was named on 173 in becoming the 75th winner of the award since its inception in 1962. He was the runner-up in the 2023 election to John Lowe by merely two votes, the closest election in the history of the balloting. Finishing second this year with 113 votes was Bruce Jenkins, a baseball writer and columnist for almost half a century for the San Francisco Chronicle. Longtime New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman received 83 votes. Candidates were chosen by a three-member, BBWAA-appointed committee and announced during the All-Star Game meeting July 11 in Seattle. Voting was conducted in November.

For nearly 40 years from his hometown of Clearwater, Fla., to major league beats in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Arlington, Texas, Fraley formed relationships with players, coaches, scouts, executives, and umpires that made him one of the most trusted voices in the industry. “Frales,” who died in 2019 at the age of 64, covered the Phillies, Braves and Rangers and was a pioneer in the advent of daily notebooks as part of beat coverage.

He also was a national baseball writer at the Dallas Morning News, where he spent nearly 25 years as beat writer and columnist. During that time, Gerry eventually took on the role of “Super General Assignment Reporter” that was created especially for him because he was adept at assisting on other beats, including football, basketball, and auto racing. As former President (and former Texas Rangers owner) George W. Bush noted, “Gerry was an accomplished writer and a keen observer of many sports. It always seemed to me that baseball was his real passion, thereby establishing a kinship and a lasting friendship.”

Never one to seek accolades or honors, Fraley nevertheless was a Texas Headliner Award winner for his career coverage of Nolan Ryan. While at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering the Braves, Gerry served as national BBWAA president in 1987.

Previous BBWAA Career Excellence Award Recipients:

2023: John Lowe; 2022 Tim Kurkjian; 2021 Dick Kaegel; 2020 Nick Cafardo; 2019 Jayson Stark; 2018 Sheldon Ocker; 2017 Claire Smith; 2016 Dan Shaughnessy; 2015 Tom Gage; 2014 Roger Angell; 2013 Paul Hagen; 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; 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.