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07/25/10 6:54 PM ET

For first time, Madden the one covered at Hall

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- When Bill Madden was growing up, the New York Daily News wasn't allowed in his home. His father wouldn't allow the "scandal rag" in his house.

On Sunday, the Baseball Writers' Association of America awarded Madden the J.G. Taylor Spink Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame for his work as a writer for that very newspaper, the Daily News, where Madden has worked since 1978, first as the Yankees' beat writer, then as a national baseball columnist.

Madden said he has covered almost every Baseball Hall of Fame Induction since he was hired in 1978. Needless to say, this was the first time he was being covered.

"It feels a little strange being up here on this side of the podium, instead of being out there with all my friends and fellow scribes," Madden said.

Madden thanked his good friend, Moss Klein, who co-wrote "Damned Yankees" with Madden and helped edit his four other books.

He thanked former manager Don Zimmer, a friend and the subject of one of his books, and Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who "shared the Steinbrenner experience" with him.

And he thanked former University of South Carolina basketball coach Frank McGuire, who got Madden his first job at United Press International after he graduated from college.

Madden graduated from the University of South Carolina, where he primarily covered McGuire's basketball team, and when it was time to get a job, McGuire called a friend at UPI and told him to hire Madden right away. The friend did so without ever asking for Madden's resume or clips.

Madden stayed at UPI for nine years before joining the Daily News, where he built up a Hall of Fame reputation as a baseball writer.

"There is no greater honor in life than one voted on by your peers," Madden said.

This particular honor was even more special to Madden because of who the award is named after.

Spink was publisher of The Sporting News from 1914 to 1962, "the baseball bible," as Madden referred to it in his speech.

It was reading The Sporting News that inspired Madden to be a baseball writer, a decision that allowed him to be honored many years later for his contributions to the game he loves.

Madden pointed out to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who was sitting on stage, that Spink was the most powerful man in baseball during his run as publisher.

With the future of newspapers growing more uncertain with each passing year, Madden spoke with a reverence for the profession he eventually became a part of, and the one in which he reached the pinnacle.

"For more than a century, newspapers and, by extension, books, have been the lifeblood of baseball," Madden said. "The printed word is forever. The ready-reference for the game's history."

Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.