The Jack Graney Award
Presented annually by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame to a representative of the media who has made a significant contribution to the game of baseball in Canada through their life’s work, or for a singular outstanding achievement.
Jack Graney’s Career
Jack Graney’s road to the big leagues began in St. Thomas, Ontario, where he was born and recommended to the Chicago Cubs by fellow Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Bob Emslie.
After a season in the Cubs organization, Graney was sold to Cleveland, where he would evolve into a steady, dependable outfielder.
First Batter to Face Babe Ruth
His big league resume boasts a number of firsts. When Graney walked to the plate in a game against the Red Sox on July 11, 1914, he became the first batter to face Babe Ruth.
Almost two years later, on June 26, 1916, he would be the first major leaguer to bat wearing a number on his uniform.
World Series Winner
A scrappy leadoff hitter, Graney would lead the American League in walks twice (1917 and 1919) and in doubles once (1916). The speedy Canuck also finished in the top 10 in triples in 1913 and 1916, with 12 and 14 three-baggers respectively. He was also a member of the World Series-winning Indians squad in 1920.
Transition to Broadcasting
Following his playing career, Graney became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth, performing radio play-by-play for the Indians from 1932 to 1953.
Nominate a Media Representative
If you feel someone is worthy of winning the Jack Graney award please submit your nomination in email to the Hall of Fame’s office by November 1 of each year. Winner is announced late November.
Born in 1944 in Gettysburg, Pa., Lott grew up on his family’s farm a few miles from town. He developed a passion for baseball when he seven years old when he started playing catch with his Uncle John. His uncle built a batting tee out of pipe fittings and a radiator hose and taught him how to swing level and hit line drives.
“By the time I reached my late teens, however, it was clear my dream of major-league stardom was rapidly fading,” wrote Lott in his retirement column for The Athletic in October 2020. “But by then I had another dream, which I never talked about because it seemed outlandish for a kid stuck on the family farm in 1960. My ambition was to cover a major-league baseball team. Forty years later, I finally did.”
Lott caught the Journalism bug when he was named co-sports editor of his high school newspaper. After he graduated from Penn State University, he moved to Ontario and began his professional Journalism career in 1969 when he served as a general reporter for the Newmarket Era, a community newspaper, until 1975. He then moved on to a position as the editor of the Aurora Banner newspaper from 1975 to 1980.
In 1980, he was appointed Journalism coordinator at Centennial College in Toronto and he taught there for more than 20 years. But his passion for baseball never waned. In 1998, he launched the TruNorth Baseball website, which focused on Canadian players and Blue Jays prospects whom he interviewed during his summer travels to minor league venues in Canada and the U.S. The site was in operation for three years.
His work on TruNorth Baseball helped him land a freelance position, covering the Toronto Blue Jays, for the National Post in 2000. In 2004, he took early retirement from teaching to focus on his new career as a baseball writer with the National Post. He would excel in that position for 16 years, while also finding time to co-author, along with Shi Davidi, the 2013 book, Great Expectations: The Lost Toronto Blue Jays season.
Beginning in October 2016, Lott, also a talented photographer, was the senior baseball writer for The Athletic Toronto. While in that role, he was named the winner of the 2018 Sports Media Canada George Gross Award for outstanding sportswriting.
He continued to pen memorable articles for The Athletic and mentor young reporters until his retirement in October 2020.
Looking back, Lott counts among his career highlights, covering Carlos Delgado’s four-home run game (September 25, 2003), Roy Halladay’s no-hitter in his first playoff game with the Philadelphia Phillies (October 6, 2010) and the Jose Bautista bat flip game (October 14, 2015).