The final 25% of the Pioneer/Executive wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric gets going today. And the reason you’re reading this blog, this post, is because you love the game of baseball. We’ve already elected Henry Chadwick, the man often called the “Father of Baseball”. And we’ve elected Bill James, a person I might call the “Father of SABRmetrics”. Today we elect another father, perhaps, the “Father of The Sporting News.” Some might say it’s hard to give him that moniker, especially since his actual uncle, Alfred H. Spink, founded the American paper. Bear with me.
Known as “The Bible of Baseball”, TSN was the reference for serious fans. Players and managers would read. Broadcasters and executives would too. Those who today understand the difference between ERA and ERA+ would have read TSN. And so would those who just loved the game. This was the place to go if you wanted to know about baseball. And J.G. Taylor Spink made it that way after he took over publication in 1914. He and TSN gave us The Sporting News Record Book, The Baseball Register, The Sporting News Baseball Guide, Daguerrotypes, and others. And he hired correspondents for each major league team so his readers had the best information possible. He made baseball’s Bible into baseball’s Bible.
Many of you remember that the newspaper once included each team’s box score from the previous week. And you remember the write-up for each team. What I remember most about The Sporting News is acquiring it each week in 1988 and pouring through the American League statistics with pen and paper set aside to compile statistics for my first fantasy baseball league. That’s right, less than 30 years ago TSN was still the go-to for everything baseball.
I suspect without J.G. Taylor Spink and The Sporting News, Bill James might not have become Bill James. Retrosheet might not have become Retrosheet. And BBREF might not have become BBREF.
So for those accomplishments, we welcome J.G. Taylor Spink to the Hall of Miller and Eric as its 22nd inductee into our Pioneer/Executive wing. We hope you’re back here in two weeks to learn the identity of #23.