Bob Elliott Receives Major Award

Veteran Toronto Sun baseball writer Bob Elliott has a distinguished new award to share his trophy shelf with the  Sports Media Canada Lifetime Achievement Award he received during the 2008 Sports Media Canada Achievement Awards.

Bob Elliott

Bob was named this week as 2012 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for meritorious service to the profession.

He will be honored at the annual National Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend ceremonies on July 21-22 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

“Bob Elliott has been Canada’s best baseball writer for more than three decades so it makes complete sense that he becomes the first Canadian to be honoured with the Spinks Award,” said Sports Media Canada president Steve McAllister. “Nobody works harder at their craft than Bob and nobody has covered Canadian baseball on a wider basis, from the grassroots to the majors.”

Bob has coached minor and senior baseball for most of his career in his spare time, and has been part of Canadian championship teams in Georgetown. His passion for the sport extends well beyond writing about it.

“I’ve never seen anyone with more passion for the sport and his profession than Bob,” said Pat Gillick, former general manager of the Blue Jays.

Gillick, inducted into the Hall earlier this year along with second baseman Robbie Alomar and pitcher Burt Blyleven, was in the room when Elliott’s election was announced at the opening of the baseball writer’s annual session at the Winter Baseball Meetings.

Gillick seemed close to tears when Elliott’s name topped the ballot that included three baseball writers. Elliott got 205 votes from the 455 ballots cast. Paul Hagen, formerly of  the Philadelphia Daily News, had 169 votes, and Russell Schneider, longtime Cleveland writer, received 81 votes.

“It was a very emotional moment,” Gillick said.

Elliott covered the Montreal Expos for the Ottawa Citizen from 1979-86 and has been covering baseball for the Toronto Sun since 1987. He previously won the Jack Graney Award presented by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and, of course, the Sports Media Canada Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I thought of my father after I got the call,” Elliott said. “Then I thought of other baseball writers who have passed away — Terry Johnson in Los Angeles, Vern Plagenhoef in Detroit, Neil Hohlfeld in Houston — all good guys who are gone. I couldn’t carry their typewriters.”

Voting was by mail ballot. Spink Award candidates were nominated by a three-member committee. The award which is named after the late editor of The Sporting News, has been awarded annually since 1962. The recipients are presented with a certificate and while not formally Baseball Hall of Fame  Inductees, are recognized in the Hall of Fame library “Scribes and Mikemen” exhibit.

Some of North America’s greatest sportswriting names are on the Spink Award along with Bob Elliott’s name.  Included are Red Smith, Grantland Rice, Shirley Povich, Damon Runyan and Ring Lardner.