NASHVILLE — Larry Whiteside, a pioneer among African-American journalists, was selected as the 2008 winner of the J.G. Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America this morning. It is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.”
Whiteside, who died on June 15 of complications from Parkinson’s disease, received 203 votes from the 415 ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more years of consecutive years of service. Whiteside is the 59th recipient of the award.
Whiteside, who will be recognized on July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., is the third Boston Globe baseball writer to win the award. ESPN’s Peter Gammons was inducted into Cooperstown three years ago. Harold Kaese also won the award with Red Smith in 1976.
Whiteside was a pioneer in baseball writing. He was the first African-American baseball writer to qualify for a Hall of Fame vote (at least 10 consecutive years of covering baseball). He was the first African-American beat writer at The Boston Globe, and his “Black List” of African-American journalists, which he started in the early 1970s, enabled sport editors from major publications across the country to hire African-American journalists.
Whiteside’s career also included stints in Kansas City and Milwaukee, where he covered Hank Aaron. He covered the Red Sox and national baseball issues for parts of four decades in Boston. Whiteside was aware that he had been nominated for the award before his death last summer. His wife, Elaine, and his son, Tony, were informed of the news and said they were proud and honored that Larry had received the award.