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Gerry Fraley wins BBWAA Career Excellence Award, top honor for baseball writers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gerry Fraley, a gregarious and tempestuous reporter over four decades until his death four years ago, won the BBWAA Career Excellence Award on Tuesday.

The honor was announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America at the winter meetings. Fraley will be honored during the Hall of Fame's induction weekend from July 19-22 in Cooperstown, New York.

Known for his quick humor and combustible temper, Fraley died in May 2019 at age 64 after a two-year battle with cancer.

He received 173 of 370 ballots from BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service after finishing second last year, two votes behind John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Bruce Jenkins received 113 votes this year and New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman got 83. There was one blank ballot submitted in voting conducted by mail in November.

“Frales,” as he was called throughout baseball, became the 75th winner of the honor, known as the J.G. Taylor Spink Award until 2021.

“Gerry was an accomplished writer and a keen observer of many sports," former President and former Texas Rangers owner George W. Bush said in a statement at the time of Fraley's death. "It always seemed to me that baseball was his real passion, thereby establishing a kinship and a lasting friendship.”

Growing up in Clearwater, Florida, Fraley attended Clearwater High School and Carnegie Mellon. He began his career from 1979-81 at The Clearwater Sun, in the city where the Philadelphia Phillies hold spring training, and moved to the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1982-89. At first covering the Braves, Hawks and Falcons, baseball became his focus.

He switched to The Dallas Morning News from 1989 to 2006, covering baseball through 1998. He became a general assignment reporter until 2003, when he was promoted to columnist.

Fraley left in 2007 and wrote for The Sporting News, then returned to the Morning News two years later. After first covering the Cowboys, he moved off that beat in 2011 and again concentrated on baseball.

Fraley was BBWAA president in 1987.

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The Associated Press