Longtime Cardinals and Royals Writer to be Honored at July 24 Awards Presentation in Cooperstown
Dick Kaegel, who covered the beats of Missouri’s two Major League Baseball teams for decades, was elected the 2021 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. His career will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Induction Weekend July 23-26 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Kaegel will be honored along with the late Nick Cafardo, the 2020 recipient, at the July 24 ceremony at Doubleday Field. There was no Awards Presentation ceremony last summer following the cancellation of Hall of Fame Weekend because of restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kaegel received 183 votes from the 374 ballots, including three blanks, cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service, in becoming the 72nd winner of the award since its inception in 1962 and named for the first recipient. Spink was a driving force of the Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the “Baseball Bible.” The late Marty Noble, a staple of New York press boxes for more than four decades, received 115 votes. Allan Simpson, the former minor-league executive who founded the influential publication Baseball America, got 73.
For versatility over a career spanning 53 years, Kaegel may have had no peer. In addition to his coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, he served as editor-in-chief of the Sporting News, where circulation spiked during his stewardship from 1979-85. He spent one spring as a player to inform readers about his experience. And in an amazing feat of endurance, Kaegel covered all 162 games of the Royals’ season in 2011, just four years after undergoing liver transplant surgery.
Kaegel’s career took him from the bi-weekly Granite City (Ill.) Press Record in 1964 to coverage of the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post Dispatch for 12 years and a more than two-decade stint of Royals coverage for the Kansas City Star and MLB.com. One spring for the Sporting News, he worked out with the Baltimore Orioles of Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer and filed weekly reports. Kaegel edited the magazine with reverence for the game and kept box scores for the entirety of his tenure, a feat of which he is still proud.
Kaegel served several terms as chair of the Kansas City Chapter of the BBWAA and twice served on the Hall of Fame’s Golden Era Committee. His wire-to-wire coverage of the Royals in 2011 remains a staggering achievement for any baseball writer.
Previous Spink Award Recipients
2020 Nick Cafardo; 2019 Jayson Stark; 2018 Sheldon Ocker; 2017 Claire Smith; 2016 Dan Shaughnessy; 2015 Tom Gage; 2014 Roger Angell; 2013 Paul Hagen; 2012 Bob Elliott; 2011 Bill Conlin; 2010 Bill Madden; 2009 Nick Peters; 2008 Larry Whiteside; 2006 Rick Hummel; 2005 Tracy Ringolsby; 2004 Peter Gammons; 2003 Murray Chass; 2002 Hal McCoy; 2001 Joe Falls; 2000 Ross Newhan; 1999 Hal Lebovitz; 1998 Bob Stevens; 1997 Sam Lacy; 1996 Charley Feeney; 1995 Joseph Durso; 1993 Wendell Smith; 1992 Leonard Koppett, Bus Saidt; 1991 Ritter Collett; 1990 Phil Collier; 1989 Jerome Holtzman; 1988 Bob Hunter, Ray Kelly; 1987 Jim Murray; 1986 Jack Lang; 1985 Earl Lawson; 1984 Joe McGuff; 1983 Ken Smith; 1982 Si Burick; 1981 Bob Addie, Allen Lewis; 1980 Joe Reichler, Milton Richman; 1979 Bob Broeg, Tommy Holmes; 1978 Tim Murnane, Dick Young; 1977 Gordon Cobbledick, Edgar Munzel; 1976 Harold Kaese, Red Smith; 1975 Tom Meany, Shirley Povich; 1974 John Carmichael, James Isaminger; 1973 Warren Brown, John Drebinger, John F. Kieran; 1972 Dan Daniel, Fred Lieb, J. Roy Stockton; 1971 Frank Graham; 1970 Heywood C. Broun; 1969 Sid Mercer; 1968 H.G. Salsinger; 1967 Damon Runyon; 1966 Grantland Rice; 1965 Charles Dryden; 1964 Hugh Fullerton; 1963 Ring Lardner; 1962 J.G. Taylor Spink.