Jack Rider of the Cincinnati Enquirer was traveling with the Reds in 1906 when he began discussing with other writers the need to improve working conditions. Sid Mercer of the New York Globe agreed. An earlier attempt to organize writers had failed ; very few were on the road with
teams. They enlisted Ernest Lanigan of the New York Press to do the
missionary work because
the Press had the most extensive baseball coverage.
According to a mistaken legend, the idea began when Hugh Fullerton
of the Chicago Examiner found actor Louis Mann in his pressbox seat at the 1908 WS. Fullerton did indeed confront Mann, who often sat in the pressbox at the Polo Grounds, but that was a fairly common nuisance at the time.
The organization was formally constituted in Detroit
on October 14, 1908, but a formative meeting of a few writers from New York, Brooklyn,
Chicago, and Cincinnati had occurred in the NL offices in New York on August 11.
NL president Harry Pulliam supported the idea.
In 1910, the New York teams gave
the group a boost. At a city series they admitted only BBWAA members to the press
box. As a result, the organization collected a high number of $2 annual dues. Among
the goals of the BBWAA were better facilities, promoting uniform scoring, and acting
with the leagues in making rules suggestions. Chapters were formed in most ML cities;
their annual winter dinners have become big events.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»October 14, 1908:
Upset over seating arrangements at the World Series, sports reporters form a professional group that will become the Baseball Writers Association of America.
»May 6, 1929: The American League announces that it will discontinue the MVP award. The National League will abandon it after this year; in 1931 the Baseball Writers Association will pick it up and conduct the balloting from then on.