History is made everyday. In recognition of the contributions of Claire Smith, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will bestow her with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing” and will be presented with the award during Hall of Fame Weekend, July 28 through 31, 2017. She will be the first woman ever honored with the prestigious award.
Smith was the first black woman reporter to cover Major League Baseball on a daily basis and received 272 votes off of 449 ballots. Currently working as a coordinating editor for ESPN’s universal news group, Smith has contributed to the Hartford Courant, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Claire has also earned the Legacy Award from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2011 and the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association for Women in Sports Media in 2000. She’s also been honored with the Sam Lacy Legacy Award by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and MLB.com.
Smith has definitely earned her stripes as a woman in baseball, which has been very anti-woman in the past. In 1984, Claire Smith was physically removed from the clubhouse by San Diego Padres players during the NLCS against the Cubs. Former MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who once fought to keep female sports writers out of major league clubhouses, later called her “the best baseball writer in America.”