Baseball writer first woman to receive Hall of Fame honor

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Claire Smith is the first woman to receive the J.G. Spink Award from the Baseball Writers of America. (PHOTO / BASEBALL HALL OF FAME)

Claire Smith, a trailblazer for women and minorities in baseball coverage, will receive the prestigious J.G. Taylor Spink Award in from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Smith, 62, is the first woman and only the fourth African American to receive the honor in the award’s 55-year history.

She will receive the award this weekend in Cooperstown. Smith covered baseball for the Sporting News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times and the Hartford Courant.

Smith spoke of the importance of the award in a Q&A with the MLB Hall of Fame:

“I know that there were so many women before me who bore more of the brunt of being pioneers, of being bruised and battered emotionally, of kicking in the doors, breaking the glass. You know what it reminds me of? The old saying about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Fred Astaire was amazing and so was Ginger Rogers, only Ginger did what Fred did dancing backwards with high heels on. That’s what I think of when you have to carry that extra burden.”