Despite what you may have heard, Dan Shaughnessy was not inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend. He was given the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, presented at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and will be recognized in the media exhibit at the Hall. 

There is no induction, he has no plaque.

That doesn’t stop the lie from spreading.

Oh, but it’s just semantics, right? I hate Dan Shaughnessy so I need to discredit him and take this tremendous honor which has been bestowed upon him and minimize it. Probably because I’m jealous or something, I forget what exactly.

(For those who apparently didn’t get the above paragraph. I don’t “hate” Shaughnessy. I’m accused of it often, so I took that perception and projected it into that statement.) 

But, as Rob Neyer wrote last year –

But one of the CENTRAL TENETS of our profession is accuracy, and it’s just wildly inaccurate for a Spink Award winner to describe himself as a Hall of Famer, or to say he’s in the non-existent “writer’s wing” of the Hall of Fame.

Some do try to set the record straight:

What exactly is this J.G. Taylor Spink Award? Well, it’s pretty vague, actually. The award is voted on by the BBWAA to recognize meritorious contributions to baseball by members of the BBWAA.

That’s all. So this “Hall of Fame” award is the BBWAA voting for a BBWAA member. Only once has a non-BBWAA writer received the award, and that was Roger Angell in 2014. Now if any writer deserved to be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it might be Roger Angell. But since Angell wasn’t a member of the precious BBWAA they didn’t honor him with the Spink Award until he was 94 years old.

Of course, in 2011 they honored Bill Conlin, six months before he resigned following multiple accusations of child-molestation. Nice timing.

Aside: How has Roger Kahn not been recognized yet? Oh, he’s not a member of the BBWAA.

Here’s more on the award from the actual Baseball Hall of Fame website:

The award is voted upon annually by the BBWAA, via a meeting and subsequent “show of hands” either at the preceding year’s World Series or Winter Meetings. A nominee is recommended by the BBWAA’s Screening Committee prior to the meeting. Each award recipient (not to be confused with an inductee) is presented with a certificate during Hall of Fame Weekend and is recognized in the “Scribes & Mikemen” exhibit in the Library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

(Emphasis mine)

From now on though, be prepared to hear Shaughnessy introduced as Hall of Fame writer Dan Shaughnessy. (and die a little inside each time.)

So what about these “meritorious contributions to baseball” that Shaughnessy has provided?

You mean like the Curse of the Bambino? That qualifies? Apparently so. If you were around prior to 2004, you remember how much that thing was shoved down our throats. Because of his book(s) Shaughnessy had an active interest in the Red Sox losing at the end of each season in the most painful way possible. He profited from it.

From his work as a beat writer? As a day-to-day baseball beat writer, he was actually not on the job all that long. How many people remember him for that?

1977 World Series

Well, OK, he’s been around a long time, I guess. Is this a longevity award?

Lets look at what the BBWAA thought made Shaughnessy worthy of this honor. Check out their page on him. (That’s a really bad WordPress website guys. Maybe check out VIP?)

Here’s the pertinent part:

Shaughnessy, 62, came to the Globe in 1981 after four years of covering baseball for the Baltimore Evening Sun and Washington Star. The Holy Cross College graduate has covered more than 35 spring trainings and 25 World Series. Shaughnessy has written 12 books, nine of them on baseball, notably Curse of the Bambino. He also popularized the phrase, “Red Sox Nation.”

Through his columns, Dan has taken on owners, front offices, managers, coaches and players alike in pertinent issues through good times and bad with the Red Sox. He has covered three championship Red Sox teams, the heartbreaking 1986 season and wrote some of the most eloquent prose in 2004 after Boston ended its 86-year title drought.

In 2006, Shaughnessy wrote a column which forced Theo Epstein to resign as Red Sox general manager. Dan wrote a book on high school baseball; covered high school, NCAA and Cape Cod League baseball, and delivered talks on baseball at the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Shaughnessy was the last writer to interview Ted Williams, in 2002, and had exclusive access to Williams in his final years.


We know Shaughnessy didn’t invent the Curse of the Bambino. He just pounded it into the ground. He didn’t coin the phrase Red Sox Nation, either.

Ah yes, his bravery in taking on owners (but not John Henry, he’s his boss) front offices (but not Larry Lucchino, he’s his source) managers (but not Terry Francona, he wrote a book with him) coaches (like who? Wendell “send em in” Kim?) and players (mostly Dominicans.)

He wrote eloquent prose? When? Has anyone ever read a Shaughnessy column and been awestruck by his craftsmanship with words? Just because the Globe put his columns during the 2004 postseason the front page of the paper didn’t make them eloquent.

In 2006, Shaughnessy wrote a column which forced Theo Epstein to resign as Red Sox general manager.

This is stated as if this was an accomplishment! The column was ghostwritten by Larry Lucchino. Epstein resigned because it was clear to him that Lucchino had gone to Shaughnessy, said these things, and acted like Epstein’s new contract was a done deal. It doesn’t even read like a typical Shaughnessy column. But this gets put on his “Hall of Fame” resume?

Epstein didn’t resign out of shame because of something Shaughnessy wrote exposing him. He resigned out of disgust. This is supposedly a feather in Dan’s cap?

Dan wrote a book on high school baseball – to be more accurate, the book was about his son.

Shaughnessy was the last writer to interview Ted Williams, in 2002, and had exclusive access to Williams in his final years.

Why was that? Because Shaughnessy brokered a peace with the duplicitous John Henry Williams, who had taken over his father’s life. Dan would get exclusive access to Ted in exchange for not being critical of what JHW was doing to his father and his business decisions. Brave, indeed.

All that is worthy of being honored at the Hall of Fame?

In recent years Dan Shaughnessy has had no aim other than to make the life of Boston sports fans miserable – during the greatest period of sports success this city has ever seen.

Does that qualify as a “meritorious contributions to baseball?”

It’s worth keeping in mind that the J.G. Taylor Spink Award is really just a media award given out by the media. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the Hall of Fame, other than that is where the award is given, and the recipient will remembered in the media exhibit.

If you look through the names of the writers who have received this award, many of them are all-time greats. Ring Lardner, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Shirley Povich, Red Smith, Dick Young, Jim Murray, Sam Lacey, Jerome Holtzman, Peter Gammons, Angell.

Now Dan Shaughnessy.

Forgive me if I don’t fawn over him, or call him a “Hall of Famer.”


24 thoughts on “Let’s Get Something Straight: Dan Shaughnessy Is NOT a Hall of Famer.

  1. He might not have any official plaque or mention in Cooperstown, but 135 Morrissey Blvd. has already setup a display to honor Dan:


  2. I remember Shank as a Globe high school sports writer in the 70’s. Lazy lazy lazy you could have predicted how he’d turn out. The only school that got consistent coverage from him was BC High cause it’s across the street from the Globe.


  3. The fact that you “hate” someone because of their writing on a trivial thing like sports, says more about your character than Dan’s.


    1. Sports is a multi-billion dollar business, and members of the media are in a unique position to attempt to shape public opinion. If you think that’s “trivial”, or calling out someone of low character in a profession like that is “trivial’, I’d argue it says a lot more about you, Nick.

      Ask yourself if Shaughnessy thinks sports are “trivial”. He’d be begging for nickels or selling snake oil without it. It’s only because of sports that he’s making good money by biting the ankles of his betters.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hate is an extremely strong word. Sorry, sportswriting is not something to hate someone over.


        1. What kind of important profession does someone have to be in before it’s appropriate to “hate” them for how slimy and unethical they are? Is there a sliding scale of influence that I’m not aware of?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That’s arguable. Tomase wrote something that was retracted but Patriots fans still have to fight the stigma. Many, including myself, “hate” him for that. And I don’t hate Shank for his writing. I hate Shank because he’s an asshole. Pure and simple.

          Strong words should be used to describe strong feelings. If sports fans didn’t have strong feelings Shank wouldn’t have a job. (That’s not fair, he would have a job, but it’s safe to assume he wouldn’t be as wealthy.) And Shank more than any other Boston sports writer has tried to elicit strong reactions from fans. I don’t find him to be thought provoking as a columnist is generally purported to be, but rather more of a lecturer. Like a crotchety old uncle trying telling people how they are supposed to feel about something, and if you don’t agree with him, well then you’re wrong. It rubs a LOT of people the wrong way. And what’s weird is he seems to enjoy the fact that it annoys local fan bases. Which is why he deserves the moniker of asshole. And why people hate him.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Yeah, that Shank has some great character. He has so much character that he continues to take unfair shots at a certain team owner down in Foxboro because he (Shank) went uninvited to a Super Bowl breakfast nearly 20 years ago. He even printed an outright lie (“the Patriots have the third-lowest payroll in the NFL because Bob Kraft is cheap”) the day after the traumatic 2010 divisional round loss to the Jets, and he didn’t even have the cojones to let his name appear on the (buried in the middle of the sport page) “correction” the Globe printed three days later after dozens of internet sleuths uncovered Dan’s bald-faced lie.

      Spare us.

      Shank has about as much character as a meth dealer.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I think you misunderstand Bruce’s “hatred”. Bruce has questioned Dan’s professionalism. Dan has questioned Bruce’s. There is actual bad blood there as Bruce has spent hours and an unlimited amount of digital ink fact checking Dan’s columns and finding that he either is lazy, wrong or a thief on a regular basis. You are right sports and its commentary are trivial. You are wrong in thinking that professional writers don’t take pride in their work and that when their honesty, integrity and reputations are questioned they do not take offense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. He is easily the most conceited writer in sports. He must have spent too much time at the Valhalla Bar in Worcester while matriculating at HC.


  5. When Shank covered high school sports for the Globe most articles were about BC High. Too lazy to go anywhere but across the street from the Globe.


  6. If “some of the most eloquent prose” means Dan taking a dump all over the fans the day after Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS by having his column basically be “the curse isn’t over until I say it is”, then the BBWAA must have its head up its arse.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Shank is a maggot who roots for failure so he can write about it. He has all the range of a bass drum. He’s been the turd in the punchbowl since I’ve been old enough to care about Boston sports. He makes goldenseal seem sweet. I may need more metaphors, but I don’t need any more evidence:

    He is, at best, an adequate writer.


  8. Dan’s disdain for fans is visible in much of his writing. I don’t hate him for that but I do think it disqualifies him as a personality the baseball HOF should be recognizing. I mean, no fans, no baseball, no baseball, no baseball HOF. Not hard to piece together.

    A man who has built a cottage industry on mocking and showing outright contempt for fans should not be rewarded by the stewards of the product that those fans buy. Crazy.


  9. This really deserves a different thread altogether, but apparently the NFL “investigated” Peyton Manning and found “no credible evidence” of PED use. Case closed.

    Apparently, even though it was “more probably than not” that the HGH deliveries TO HIS HOME were for him and not for his wife or kids, that Well Report standard does not apply to this case.

    Bravo, Mr. Goodell. Another brilliant example of your own brand of industrial justice

    My God, that league is an effing joke. And so are all the media outlets who will be quick to accept every word the NFL says about Saint Peyton today as the gospel truth.



  10. Shaugnessy never called himself a “hall of famer,” and has referred to it as the Spink Award since the day it was announced.

    He did, in fact, write a book about high school baseball. It’s about high school baseball as experienced by father and son, so that criticism is trite.

    As for the (really, really lame) criticism of the “curse,” take as trip over to the Newseum and gaze upon the front pages from the Red Sox ’04 Series win. “Curse” was a pretty dominant theme on the A1s across the country. And Shaughnessy made it part of the national lexicon. Get over it.


  11. Media hacks are among the most hated people around, and with good reason. “Those who Can, Do; Those who can’t, go into ‘Media.'” In the end, it’s why charades like the New England News Emmy Awards exist; media hacks backslapping other media hacks. “Boy, you sure are GREAT Jim!” “Why, Thank You, Chet…You’re awesome TOO!”


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