"I've never seen anyone with more passion for the sport and his profession than Bob," said Pat Gillick, former general manager of the Blue Jays whose team won the World Series in 1992-93 with Elliott covering.
Gillick, inducted into the Hall earlier this year along with second baseman Robbie Alomar and pitcher Burt Blyleven, was in the room when Elliott's election was announced at the opening of the BBWAA's annual session at the Winter Meetings.
Gillick nearly welled up with tears when Elliott's name emerged from a ballot that included three baseball writers. Elliott received 205 votes from the 455 ballots cast. Paul Hagen, who recently left the Philadelphia Daily News for MLB.com, received 169 votes, and Russell Schneider, who covered baseball for a half-century in Cleveland, got 81.
"It was a very emotional moment," Gillick said.
Elliott covered the Montreal Expos for the Ottawa Citizen from 1979-86 and has been covering baseball for the Sun continuously since 1987. He's also a winner of the Jack Graney Award presented to a media member by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
Upon the announcement, Elliott thanked members of the BBWAA for electing a Canadian to win an award already given to writers such as Peter Gammons, Nick Peters and Bill Conlin, last year's winner.
"I thought of my father after I got the call from Jack," Elliott said, referring to BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O'Connell. "Then I thought of other baseball writers who have passed away -- Terry Johnson in Los Angeles, Vern Plagenhoef in Detroit, Neil Hohlfeld in Houston -- all good guys who are gone. I couldn't carry their typewriters."
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. The award, named after the late editor of The Sporting News, has been voted upon annually since 1962. Though they aren't considered to be Hall of Fame inductees, each recipient is presented with a certificate and is recognized in the "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit in the Hall of Fame's library.
Other previous winners include renowned writers Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyan, John Carmichael, Shirley Povich, Red Smith, Dick Young, Jim Murray, Jerome Holtzman and Leonard Koppett.