Philadelphia writer and Temple graduate awarded spot in Baseball Hall of Fame

Philadelphia writer Claire Smith to be honored in Baseball Hall of Fame
Claire Smith was a pioneer in the world of baseball journalism, a voice of resistance to all forms of exclusive behavior in media and sport.

During a Hall of Fame presentation at Doubleday Field on Saturday, Smith was rewarded for her efforts with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, given to her for meritorious contributions to baseball writing. She is the 68th recipient of the award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and the first female honoree.

“I humbly stand on stage for those who were stung by racism or sexism or any other insidious bias and persevered,” Smith said. “You are unbreakable. You make me proud.”

Smith, 64, graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia and spent the better part of three decades as a reporter and columnist, including an eight year stint with the New York Times as a national writer. She then moved on to spend time at the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining ESPN as an editor in 2007.

Smith dealt with sexism and racism throughout her career, particularly early in her career as a full-time beat writer covering the New York Yankees for the Hartford Courant.

"They hardly noticed me because they were holding on for dear life," Smith said.

Her greatest professional obstacle came while covering the 1984 postseason when she was ejected from the clubhouse following a contest between the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres. She maintained her composure and demonstrated a level of professionalism that eventually won over some of her biggest critics. Padres first baseman recognized the unfairness of the situation and relayed quotes so she could file her story on deadline.

Smith introduced Garvey in the audience on Saturday, offering a heartfelt thanks for his actions so many years ago.

“I knew it was a very important moment,” Garvey said after the ceremony. “And I knew she was a very deep soul.”

Smith joins Bill Conlin as the second Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication graduate enshrined in Cooperstown.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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