BBWAA Sends Mixed Signals

On the same day that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America named Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott the next recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, they also extended accreditation to FanGraphs as an official member of their little organization.

Elliott represents the old guard as much as FanGraphs represents the new.

When not doing his praise worthy duties promoting Canadian amateur baseball, Elliott is quoting “talent evaluators” and offering outdated opinions based on batting average and RBIs in one sentence paragraphs for his newspaper. His best work is found in reporting the chronological events that led to a big signing or trade, and not necessarily the columns that he churns out a more regular basis that chastise the team for not signing a proven closer.

He becomes the first Canadian to win the Spink Award, and joins such luminaries as Bill Conlin, Tracy Ringolsby and Murray Chass. In their announcement of the award, the BBWAA revealed a nickname for the Toronto reporter that I’d never heard before.

Elliott, known as “Boxer,” speaks the truth by investigating and researching all sides of the story, maintaining strong relationships with executives, players, managers, coaches, scouts, agents and fans with a high level of integrity and affection for the sport.

Sure.

Spink Award winners aren’t inducted or enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but they do receive recognition in a permanent exhibit at the Hall’s library, and they become eligible to serve on the Veterans Committee, which considers Hall of Fame candidates from different eras of baseball.

Accompanying the news of Elliott’s winning was another announcement that occurred at The BBWAA Annual Meeting: FanGraphs will be officially recognized by the organization and granted accreditation.

It’s a well deserved honour for a website that has quickly emerged as a resource for anyone who takes the game seriously, including pre-existing members (at least some) of the BBWAA. In addition to its collection of statistics, the analysis that David Cameron and others provide on the website is some of the better baseball writing currently available online.

Congratulations to both Elliott and the FanGraphs crew.