Claire Smith has become the first African American woman — and first woman — to win the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, an honor bestowed upon a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Smith will be honored during the Baseball Hall of Fame weekend July 28-31, 2017, and she will be recognized in a wing of the Hall of Fame.
Smith, who is a coordinating editor for ESPN’s universal news group, shares what the award means to her in a lifelong career in baseball.
“In the past week, my everyone from lifelong friends, family, colleagues to people I’ve never met have combined to help me understand why the Baseball Writers Association of America named me as the recipient of the 2017 J.G. Taylor Spink Award.
“For many folks pointed to the path traveled as much as the prose written over the course of 34 years. For me, it was always about going to work, day after day, season after season, while striving to stay true to the profession and one’s self.
“Now I realize that the very act of ‘doing’ meant something to others. Other women, other people of color, other ball writers also trying to get it right. People were always watching. That some of those people were younger and wishing to follow your lead, who shared the same dreams, well, I’ve heard that so often in the past week it’s taken my breath away.
“So I am beginning to give myself permission to believe that perhaps it did mean something to others in a way that is lasting and worthy of what my peers insist it to be. I probably will never be known for a particular lead or phrase … ‘a tree grows in Brooklyn …’, ‘The imperfect man pitched a perfect game,’ but maybe, just maybe there were other ways to leave other indelible marks. I would like to think that entered into my fellow writers’ decision, and for that I am grateful.”
Penn State student chapter president Anita Nham was one of the 10 winners of the 2016 BIG Initiative Award. Nham was given the award in November at the 2016 Michigan Sport Business Conference at the University of Michigan. The BIG Initiative Award, started in 2013, recognizes student leaders that achieve an exceptional level of success in the sports industry. Nham is also a student writer for GoPSUSports.com and has assisted the athletics program with social media as an intern.
P.K. Daniel was named Editor of MVP Parent in October. She is thrilled to take this journey with MVP Parent, and honored to be named its editor. MVP Parent, which will officially launch in March 2017, has the opportunity to fill the information gap for parents and enhance the sports experience of youth athletes. MVP Parent is dedicated to providing evidence-based information to address injury prevention, skill development, nutrition, sports psychology and other issues that are relevant to youth sports.
Daniel will bring to the project more than 25 years as a sports journalist, the last quarter of which has been focused on youth sports and the issues that affect youth athletes and their families.
Do you have good news to share? A new baby? A new job? A new spouse? A cross-country move? Let AWSM know and we’ll feature it in our members notebook in an upcoming newsletter. Email Mary Clarke at email@example.com