Jacob Pomrenke is SABR’s web content editor/producer. He is chairman of the Black Sox Scandal Research Committee and editor of Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox, published in 2015. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife, Tracy Greer, and their cats, Nixey Callahan and Bones Ely.
No one who knew him would have been surprised to learn that Hugh S. Fullerton was in the middle of the fracas that led to the formation of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America during the 1908 World Series. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, the Chicago-based newspaper and magazine writer played a significant role in just about every major story involving the baseball media.
Most fans today know about the Baseball Writers’ Association of America because of its role in award voting. From the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, and other awards at the end of each season to Hall of Fame elections, eligible members of the BBWAA are the people who select the most prestigious honors in the game.
It ought to come as no surprise that a group of Chicago writers led the way in the formation of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1908. Most of the major innovations in baseball writing originated in the Windy City.
When John George Taylor Spink, publisher of The Sporting News for nearly a half century, was presented with “baseball’s most prized Oscar” for sportswriters in 1962, you could hardly blame the man for celebrating. His own publication, in a bit of self-serving hyperbole, said it was “an honor he has deserved ever since he was named head of the ‘Baseball Bible’ in 1914.”
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience!”
Long before Vin Scully, Walter Cronkite, or Ernie Pyle became household names, Graham McNamee was the most famous broadcaster in the world. In the earliest days of radio during the twentieth century, McNamee’s distinctive introduction was the cue for millions of Americans to gather around their household sets and listen to the most exciting events of the day.
In 1932, when The Sporting News set out to honor the best baseball broadcasters for the first time, Ford C. Frick could have hardly imagined a day when every announcer would dream of winning an award bearing his name at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
As the Baltimore Orioles gather for spring training in Sarasota, Florida, they’ll be trying to end an obscure 91-year baseball drought. If you’re not aware of this one, well, you’re not alone.
Few fans today remember his name, but by the end of the 1912 season, Heinie Zimmerman of the Chicago Cubs was arguably the biggest star in baseball. He was being mentioned by writers and analysts with the likes of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Napoleon Lajoie, and Honus Wagner. And why not? The 25-year-old third baseman had just won the Triple Crown in the National League, topping the senior circuit with a .372 batting average, 14 home runs, and 104 RBIs.
Less than a year into his tenure as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred gave a definitive answer to a question that had been evaded or ignored by every one of his predecessors: Would baseball finally consider reinstating Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver, who were handed lifetime bans by Kenesaw Mountain Landis in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal?