Whiteside posthumously wins Spink

Whiteside posthumously wins Spink

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Larry Whiteside, the late groundbreaking baseball writer for The Boston Globe, has been elected as the 2007 winner of the J.G. Spink Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and will be honored at the yearly National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Nicknamed simply "Sides," Whiteside was the first African-American beat writer in the Globe sports department. He teamed with Peter Gammons to cover the Red Sox in the 1970s. Gammons is also a former winner of the Spink Award.

Whiteside passed away in Boston after a long illness on June 15. He was 69. The Red Sox noted his passing with a moment of silence that night, prior to their game against the Giants at Fenway Park.

"Sides was a really important pioneer in our business," Gammons told MLB.com after the announcement at a BBWAA meeting on Wednesday morning. "For an African-American in the early '70s to go from Milwaukee, where he was a very respected writer, to become such a prominent guy at the Globe, tells you all you need to know. He was very good at what he did. He worked very hard at it and had a great deal of dignity. He never played the race card, which is one of the things I really respected about him, even though I know he went through some hell at times that others could not relate to."

A native of Chicago, he worked for the Globe from 1973-2004 and covered some of the biggest and greatest Red Sox games of that era. His lengthy tour at the Globe was preceded by jobs at the Des Moines Register, the Kansas City Kansan and the Milwaukee Journal. In Milwaukee, he covered the Brewers in their formatives stages and became friendly with the team's owner, Bud Selig, currently baseball's Commissioner.

"Larry Whiteside and I literally started in baseball together," Selig said. "Larry was a pioneer. In 1972, I offered him a position in public relations for the Brewers, but Larry made the decision to remain a journalist and was hired at the Boston Globe a year later. He was one of the finest reporters and one of the finest people I ever encountered. He promoted baseball with his fine, fair and objective reporting for many years."

Whiteside, who garnered 203 votes via the 415 ballots cast, was the victor in the Spink Award voting over two other stellar colleagues: Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune and Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee. Peters, who has covered the Giants for several San Francisco Bay Area newspapers during the better part of four decades and is retiring early next year, received 119 votes, while Van Dyke collected 89. Four ballots were returned without votes recorded.

It was the second consecutive year Peters was on the ballot. He lost in 2006 to Rick Hummel, the veteran national baseball scribe for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

General voting was conducted in November through a mail ballot months after the Spink Award candidates were selected by a three-member, BBWAA-appointed committee.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.