07/25/2004 10:04 PM ET
Chass receives Spink Award
New York Times writer encourages today's scribes
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- As a New York Times reporter, Murray Chass revolutionized modern baseball writing.
|Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey (left), Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark and President of the BBWAA Drew Olsen (right) present Murray Chass with his plaque. (Ben Platt/MLB.com)
As the latest recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, Chass remained true to his mission to get others to do it right.
In accepting inclusion Sunday into the circle of writers honored by the Hall of Fame, Chass devoted much of his speech to taking to task a new generation of baseball reporters.
"What happens off-the-field is part of the game," said Chass, who as a beat writer for the Times pioneered extending coverage beyond the foul lines. "That challenged me as a reporter. I always viewed myself as a reporter who happened to be covering baseball.
"I encourage young baseball writers to adopt that attitude. They'll be better for it."
While also admonishing contemporary ball writers for not caring about their subjects and viewing baseball writing only as means to another end, Chass thanked his parents for inspiring him.
"Neither of my parents had a lot of formal edication," he said. "But my mother would stay up late into the night, correcting my homework for spelling mistakes.
"And my father's ability to write planted in me that desire."
Chass also recalled his mother once reminding him that he already wanted to be a reporter when he was 8 years old.
"But I remember at an even younger age wanting to be a garbageman," Chass said. "I don't know at what point I changed my mind, but I'm glad I did."
He was especially glad on Sunday afternoon, when he accepted the Spink Award from the Baseball Writers Association of America national chairman Drew Olsen, and could look across a sea of sun-washed fans at the Clark Sports Center.
Now the Times' national baseball reporter, Chass has been back on the job after recovering from a major illness.
"A year ago," he said, "I watched these procedings from my hospital bed. Now I'm standing here. I much prefer it this way."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.