Spink, Alfred H(enry) 1854(?)-1928
SPINK, Alfred H(enry) 1854(?)-1928
Born August 24, 1854 (some sources say 1853), in Quebec, Canada; died May 27, 1928, in Chicago, IL; son of William amd Frances (Woodbury) Spink; married.
Writer. Founder and editor, The Sporting News, 1886; also founder and editor, St. Louis World; former editor for Missouri Chronicle and St. Louis Chronicle. Involved in creation of the American Association baseball league, 1882; secretary and press agent for the St. Louis Browns.
The National Game: A History of Baseball, America's Leading Out-Door Sport, From the Time It Was First Played up to the Present Day, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of the Great Players Who Helped to Bring the Game into the Prominence It Now Enjoys, National Game Publishing (St. Louis, MO), 1910, 2nd edition, 1911, published as The National Game, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 2000.
Spink Sport Stories: 1,000 Big and Little Ones, 1921.
Alfred H. Spink is perhaps best known as the founder of Sporting News magazine. In addition to his interests in sports journalism, Spink was also involved in the creation, in 1882, of the American Association, the rival to the existing National League baseball league, and he helped found the St. Louis Browns, the city's first major league baseball team.
The Sporting News is the oldest sports periodical in existence, and celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1986. It reports a weekly international circulation in excess of 700,000. "From 1886 to 1982 the Spinks—Alfred Henry, his brother Charles Claude, his nephew John George Taylor and his great nephew Charles Claude Johnson—were synonymous with sports publishing," commented Lowell Reidenbaugh in the Sporting News. "From a struggling, eight-page weekly in the late 19th century, they built an ever-widening publishing empire that includes The Sporting Goods Dealer, a trade monthly, plus numerous baseball, football, basketball and hockey annuals." The Spinks' dynasty ended in 1977 when Charles C. Spink sold the magazine to Times Mirror.
Spink's The National Game is among the first comprehensive histories of baseball. First published in 1910, but out of print after its second edition was published in 1911, it was reprinted in 2000 by Southern Illinois University Press. The National Game includes a history of the game before 1910, and biographical portraits of the major players who helped to bring the game to prominence in the early twentieth century. In addition to The National Game, Spink also published Spink Sport Stories: 1,000 Big and Little Ones in 1921. Spink died in 1928.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Sporting News, January 23, 1982, Lowell Reidenbaugh, "Saga of the Spink Family: A Rich Publishing Heritage," pp. 24-27, 31-32; February 28, 1986, Lowell Reidenbaugh, "A Boys Game and a Man's Dream," pp. 16-22, 26-30, 32, 34-36, 38, 40-48, 53.*