Writers are people too.
Some are even Hall of Famers.
Every year (since 1962 and excluding 1994), the Baseball Hall of Fame recognizes one sports writer with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award. The award is given “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing”. Spink (1888-1962) was a writer from St. Louis himself, and one of four St. Louis beat writers in the Hall of Fame. The other three are Bob Broeg, Rick Hummel, and J. Roy Stockton.
Other notable members are Wendell Smith, Sid Mercer, Peter Gammons, to name a few.
However, one writer who spent well over 30 years covering baseball is not a recipient of the award.
That man is the late Joe Strauss.
It’s that time of the week, folks. It’s time for a new edition of “The Cooperstown case”, and this week, we’ll open up the case file for Strauss and see if he’s truly deserving.
First, I must state that Strauss passed away on December 28th, 2015 after a battle with leukemia. He was 54 years old. I am not stating this for the sake of sympathy votes or opinions, but to make it clear that it is sad that if he will one day receive the award, he will not be there to receive it.
Now, if there’s one thing about Strauss that truly stands out, it’s his high regard from his peers.
“Joe was really the type of person and professional that the more you were around him, the more you got to know him and appreciate everything about him,” said Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer and the manager of the Cardinals for most of Strauss’ time as the beat writer in St. Louis. “His talent. His intelligence. His work ethic. He was very dogged in his approach.”
Strauss didn’t join the St. Louis Post-Dispatch until 2002, but he was far experienced in baseball journalism before that. He had already been a longtime writer for the Baltimore Sun and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His career began writing for the Gwinnett Daily News, being their daily beat writer for the Atlanta Braves, Falcons, as well as the University of Georgia.
A good majority of his baseball writing career came at the hands of being a beat writer for the Cardinals, Braves, and Orioles. In 2012, Strauss was promoted to sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a position his held until the day he died.
With such an extensive journalism career, does it make for a compelling case for Strauss’ enshrinement into Cooperstown?
Feel free to discuss your thoughts below, and tune in next week for another edition of “The Cooperstown case”.