Longtime Toronto writer Elliott honored with Spink Award

Longtime Toronto writer Bob Elliott was selected as the winner of the 2012 J.G. Taylor Spink Award on Tuesday and will be honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame next summer.

The award is presented yearly by the Baseball Writers' Association of America "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing." Spink, the first recipient of the award in 1962, was a driving force of The Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the "Baseball Bible."

Elliott received 205 votes from the 455 ballots cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years' service. Philadelphia writer Paul Hagen received 169 votes, while Cleveland baseball fixture Russell Schneider got 81.

The first Canadian writer to be honored, Elliott has been a cornerstone and a sounding board for two Halls of Fame - at Cooperstown, in terms of paths to follow with veterans and the regular vote, and in the village of St. Marys in Ontario, where the first pro game in Canada was played.

Elliott, known as "Boxer," covered the Montreal Expos in the early 1980s with two Ottawa newspapers and quickly earned the trust and respect of the public relations department, front office, players and coaching staff. His move to the Toronto Sun allowed his talents as a writer to be appreciated by a wider audience.

The emergence of the Canadian pro baseball player closely parallels the emergence of Elliott as a major North American sports writing influence. In 2007, there were 750 Canadian athletes on scholarship at U.S. universities, colleges and junior colleges. At the same time there were 500 Canadian hockey players on scholarship in the States.

Awarded annually since 1962, the Spink Award boasts a famous roster of writers, notably Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Leonard Koppett, Peter Gammons, Bill Madden and last year's recipient, Bill Conlin.