Because we currently reside in the early 21st Century and thus the landscape of baseball media has been weighted towards broadcast for most of the past several decades, we don’t feature as much about baseball’s “ink-stained wretches”—the print journalists—as much as we would like to. So when an opportunity presents itself, we feel compelled to seize on it.
Here’s a sterling example of such an opportunity, Committee member John Thorn, who has a must-read historical blog called Our Game at the MLBlogs Network, recently published a post entitled “Baseball Reporting“. As he tells it in his prologue leading into the piece:
When Total Baseball made its debut in 1989, the critical response was universally and lavishly favorable. One dissenting voice was that of Jack Lang, recently retired from the press box after 42 years of covering the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, and the Mets. He continued, however, in the role he cherished, that of paterfamilias of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He served as secretary-treasurer from 1966-88, and then in 1989 he was named executive secretary, a job created for him. How, he asked me somewhat belligerently, could you compile a baseball book of that size with no mention of the role of the press? I countered by saying that even though the book ran to 2294 pages, some worthy topics had to be left for future editions, and I invited him to tackle this one himself.
Below, from the second edition of Total Baseball, is Jack’s contribution. Because of the internet, and bloggers, and the declining appeal of newsprint (if not news itself), this is already something of a period piece. Somebody ought to update it–maybe you.
Now, I don’t know whether John meant me, specifically or necessarily, but I would bet several Baseball and the Media committee members would be well-qualified to do so, many of them probably right off the tops of their head.
I would urge anyone interested in the history of baseball journalism to click on over and devour this piece, post haste. Here is the link, once again: