This weekend’s loveliest story: Claire Smith at Cooperstown

Source: Claire Smith, a Pioneer in Sports Writing, Is Honored at Cooperstown – The New York Times

Don’t know how many readers here read the sports section of any paper. So I give you this, because it’s beyond sports.

Some paragraphs which had me tearing up:

“I humbly stand on stage for those who were stung by racism or sexism or any other insidious bias and persevered,” Smith said. “You are unbreakable. You make me proud.”


…her greatest challenge came from the San Diego Padres during their 1984 playoff series against the Chicago Cubs. She was ejected from the clubhouse, then rescued by an empathetic Padres player, Steve Garvey, who fed her quotes from his teammates.

Other pioneers in the sport — including Sandy Koufax, the Jewish Dodgers pitcher who refused to play on Yom Kippur during the World Series; Frank Robinson, the first black manager in the major leagues; and Rachel Robinson, the widow of Jackie Robinson — gave her a standing ovation Saturday.

The most heartfelt moment at the ceremony arrived when Smith introduced Garvey in the audience, thanking him for his help all those years ago.

“I knew it was a very important moment,” Garvey said after the ceremony. “And I knew she was a very deep soul.”

And, last:

In her speech, which she directed to her son Joshua, Smith cited previous winners of the Spink award, including Ring Lardner, Damon Runyon and Grantland Rice.

“Those are wordsmiths,” she insisted, humbly. “Me, I’m just named Smith.”



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