Spink, J. G. Taylor

Spink, J. G. (John George) Taylor

(1888–1962) publisher, editor; born in St. Louis, Mo. He was the son of Charles Taylor, who had acquired the principal interest in the Sporting News (TSN) in 1899 when the founder (1886), Charles's brother Alfred Spink, sold it to him. (Charles had been a farmer in South Dakota when Alfred asked him to join the staff late in 1886.) A weekly tabloid-style periodical, long devoted solely to baseball, it was known for its breezy yet informative contents and soon established itself as the "Bible of baseball." After dropping out of high school in 1909, J. G. went to work for his father as an office boy and by 1914 he succeeded his father as editor and publisher, positions he held until his death. The firm also put out various other sports-related publications, including the standard annual handbook, the Baseball Register. Described as a "pint-sized, souped-up bulldozer," J. G. Taylor Spink ran the paper as the autocratic proprietor he was, demanding total commitment from his staff and many correspondents; he was especially notorious for phoning anyone, night or day, wherever they were, whenever he wanted a story. He himself loved to play the horses, but never at the expense of either his work hours or his investment. On his death, his son C. C. Johnson took over as editor/publisher, and in the 1960s, anticipating TSN 's financial problems, converted it to an all-sports periodical; in 1977 he sold TSN to the Times Mirror publishing group.