Pioneering sports writer Claire Smith set for Curley Center Conversation

March 01, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sports writer Claire Smith, the first woman and fifth African American to earn the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest honor given by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, will be the featured guest during a free public event March 15 at Penn State.

“A Conversation with Claire Smith” is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 15 on Zoom. The event is part of the ongoing Conversation Series presented by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. It is also supported by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Bellisario College as part of Women’s History Month, and the Penn State chapter of the Association for Women in Sports Media. The Conversation Series regularly features some of the biggest names in sports and sports media discussing timely matters of interest.

John Affleck, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center, will serve as moderator for the session. The Q&A format encourages questions from the audience as well as the host. 

Smith was the first female Major League Baseball beat reporter, covering the New York Yankees from 1983 to 1987 for the Hartford Courant. She later worked as a columnist for The New York Times and as a columnist and editor for The Philadelphia Inquirer before moving to ESPN as a news editor.

She was elected as the 2017 recipient of the Spink Award, presented annually since 1962 for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” The award is permanently celebrated in an exhibit in the Library of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Smith was the subject of “A League of Her Own,” a short biographical documentary that was screened in 2018 at the Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual Baseball Film Festival. The film was narrated by Jackie Robinson's daughter Sharon.

Smith was born in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Neshaminy High School. She attended Penn State and graduated from Temple University, before getting her first job with the Bucks County Courier Times.

Last Updated June 02, 2021