Barry M. Bloom

Globe's Shaughnessy wins Spink Award

Longtime Boston sports columnist elected for his career in baseball writing

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- "The Curse of the Bambino" was finally lifted when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. The curse on the author of that seminal baseball tome, Dan Shaughnessy, was finally lifted on Tuesday.

After a year's wait and in his second time on the ballot, the long-time Boston Globe sports columnist was elected by his colleagues of the Baseball Writers' Association of America as the winner of the latest J.G. Taylor Spink Award for a meritorious career in baseball writing.

Shaughnessy was named on 185 of the 417 ballots submitted by BBWAA writers eligible to vote for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Furman Bisher, the late prolific sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had 157 votes. Juan Vene, whose writings graced the newspapers of Latin America for 60 years, finished last on the three-man ballot with 74 votes.

Shaughnessy finished third last year behind Bisher and the winner, Tom Gage, then of the Detroit News. Shaughnessy, reached by phone at home in Boston, said the year's wait was "excruciating."

"It's great to be nominated, but it's real hard to wait and not know what's going to happen," he said. "I tried to shield my family and friends from any knowledge of it because it's just so hard to tell people it didn't happen."

But this time it did. Shaughnessy will receive the award during induction weekend, July 23-24, in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Saturday ceremony on July 23 is at Doubleday Field, and he'll be co-honored with the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for a decorated career in baseball broadcasting. The Hall will announce the winner of the Frick on Wednesday.

The induction ceremony for any players elected by the BBWAA is behind the Clark Sports Center on Jan. 24. Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman are the most prominent first-timers on that ballot, which writers must submit by Dec. 21. Mike Piazza has a shot at making up a 38-vote deficit and getting elected his fourth time on the ballot.

The announcement of any BBWAA electees will be on Jan. 6 in New York with a press conference the next day.

Shaughnessy began his career as the beat writer covering the Orioles for the Baltimore Evening Sun in 1977-78. He went from there to the soon-to-be defunct Washington Star as a national baseball writer and joined the Globe to cover the Celtics and the NBA in 1981, the beginning of the Larry Bird era. He has been there ever since, becoming a columnist for good in 1989.

Shaughnessy has written 12 books, nine of them about baseball, including the "The Curse of the Bambino" and another much more recently with former Red Sox manager and current Indians skipper Terry Francona called "Francona: The Red Sox Years." That controversial volume, which included the battles of Boston's World Series titles in 2004 and '07, made it as high as No. 2 on The New York Times Best Seller List.

He said that "books are like children: you love 'em all." But his personal favorite was called "Senior Year" about his son Sam's experience as a college baseball recruit.

"It was a parenting memoir," he said. "A nice vehicle for telling all the hometown stories. A bit of a personal indulgence."

But his heart always belonged to Major League Baseball. His book about the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 and the ensuing championship drought that lasted 86 years became the hallmark of the futility for that nearly nine-decade era of Boston baseball.

In the end, the Red Sox lifted the curse and so did Shaughnessy.

"I really love baseball and its an honor to be part of the BBWAA," Shaughnessy said. "I started in 1977 and was there at Yankee Stadium that year when Reggie [Jackson] hit the three home runs in Game 6 of the World Series. That was a long time ago. As a kid I read anything I could about baseball, and being a part of the baseball culture is really precious to me. You know how I feel about you guys. It's a big honor. It's really important."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.