Monday, December 4, 2006
Gammons to receive Baseball America award Tuesday
By Jerry Crasnick
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN's Peter Gammons will receive Baseball America's Lifetime Achievement Award when the magazine holds its annual banquet at baseball's winter meetings Tuesday.
Gammons joins such previous honorees as Frank Robinson, John Schuerholz and Buck O'Neil. He also appears on Baseball America's list of the 25 most influential people in the sport over the past 25 years, along with such high-profile personalities as Bud Selig, Donald Fehr, Sandy Alderson, Bill James, Pat Gillick and Sandy Alderson.
In 36 years with the Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated and ESPN, Gammons has pioneered a host of innovations. He essentially invented the weekend notes package in his Sunday columns for the Globe. He also introduced the daily notebook as part of beat coverage and popularized the reporting of trade rumors, which can now be seen in the form of "Rumor Central" features on most major sports Web sites.
Gammons changed the way game stories were written by incorporating more feature elements, and he related to his readers by using music and pop culture references that previously had no place on a sports page.
"Just about every aspect of the way we follow baseball now, he did first," said ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
Gammons was voted the National Sportswriter of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 1993 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, and received the J.G. Taylor Spink Award to earn a place in the writers wing at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2004.
Gammons will be one of 16 honorees at this year's Baseball America dinner. The list also includes Detroit's David Dombrowski (Executive of the Year) and Jim Leyland (Manager of the Year), Minnesota's Johan Santana (Player of the Year), and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr., who will also receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
In previous years, Baseball America has donated more than $35,000 to MLB Charities for youth baseball programs in disadvantaged areas through the RBI program. The proceeds from last year's dinner helped the New Orleans Zephyrs rebuild the only baseball field available to the children of New Orleans.
The proceeds from this year's event will be earmarked for scholarships for African-American baseball prospects to assist their efforts to attend camps, clinics, tournaments and college programs.
Jerry Crasnick covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.
"Just about every aspect of the way we follow baseball now, he did first."
-- Jayson Stark