NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- MLB.com's Paul Hagen has been voted the winner of the annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, it was announced at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday.
Hagen was one of three candidates for the award that recognizes a lifetime of excellence in baseball writing. He was nominated along with retirees Jim Hawkins of the Detroit Free Press and Russell Schneider of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hagen and Schneider were also on the 2011 ballot.
"Right now, this feels like an out-of-body experience," Hagen told a group of writers shortly after the announcement.
Hagen will be honored at the annual National Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend ceremonies July 27-28 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun was this past year's awardee.
"The Phillies are delighted to learn that Paul Hagen is the 2013 J.G. Taylor Spink Award recipient. He is most deserving of this prestigious award," Phillies president & CEO David Montgomery said in a statement.
"Paul has a tremendous affinity and respect for the game of baseball. His incredible work ethic and consistently enjoyable writing style have served our game and its fans very well. We heartily congratulate Paul on his well deserved selection and look forward to his induction in Cooperstown next July."
Hagen will receive the award at Doubleday Field on July 27, along with the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, which recognizes a meritorious career in baseball broadcasting and whose winner is to be revealed on Wednesday.
The 2013 Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled to take place July 28 behind the Clark Sports Center. It will feature any electees from the BBWAA ballot released last week that boasts newcomers such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling, plus Jack Morris, who is back for a 14th try.
Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, turn-of-the-20th-century umpire Hank O'Day and 19th-century catcher Deacon White were all elected to the Hall by the 16-person Pre-Integration Era Committee on Monday and will be inducted posthumously on that date.
The entire membership of the BBWAA is eligible to vote for the Spink Award and does so every fall.
The group has voted for the Spink Award annually since 1962, honoring more than one writer in some years. Hagen is its 63rd winner, among them legends such as Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Ring Lardner, Red Smith and Shirley Povich. Other previous honorees include Tracy Ringolsby, who was elected in 2005 when he worked for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and Peter Gammons, who was with ESPN, after a long career with the Boston Globe, when he won in 2004. Both currently are columnists for MLB.com. Gammons also works as an analyst for MLB Network.
Aside from his 25 years in Philadelphia covering the Phillies and the national baseball scene, Hagen spent 10 years in the Dallas area covering the Rangers for the Dallas Times-Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His career began in San Bernardino, Calif., with three years of covering the Dodgers, among other beats.
Hagen, now a national reporter for MLB.com, emphasizing the Phillies and Major League Baseball news, said he was thrilled by the support from his peers.
"This was my second year on the ballot, so of course you think about it," Hagen said. "Last year, I thought Bob Elliott would win and I thought he should win. I was thrilled for Bob. Now it comes your second time around and you think, 'What if?' It has been just incredible. Just the outpouring of people coming up and congratulating you, it makes it all worthwhile.
"Anybody who does this job for a long time makes a lot of sacrifices in his life, especially when it comes to your family. This is almost for those people, your family and friends who made their own sacrifices when you get called away from dinner all the time because of breaking news. I'm just happy for all of them, really."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.