Jayson Stark featured at first Pizza With the Pros of spring semester

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Jayson Stark speaks to students in Bozorth Hall. - Photo via RowanSportsCAM on X

On Monday, Feb. 5, Pizza With The Pros started the Spring Semester with an exciting guest speaker for MLB fans, with senior writer Jayson Stark.

Jayson Stark is the winner of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Career Excellence Award which he received in 2019. In 2024, Stark was inducted into the National Sports Media Association’s Hall of Fame as a sportswriter. He’s worked 17 years at ESPN and ESPN.com where he won an Emmy for his work on “Baseball Tonight.” He currently works for MLB Network and The Athletic as an insider.

It was only two weeks ago that Stark learned that he was going to be inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. He joins other popular media associates such as Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. 

“I started looking through all of the winners of that award and it’s surreal to think that I’m on that list,” Stark said. “When the Ballot came out I told my family that I’ll probably finish last and somehow I won the sportswriter slot.”

Stark grew up in northeast Philadelphia. He’s wanted to be a sports writer since he was ten years old and has been living his dream ever since. His mother was the person who influenced him to become a writer.

“My mother was a writer. She worked at a newspaper in Philadelphia that went out of business, but she loved writing. She was always showing me these great stories I should read. I got the love of writing from her,” Stark said.

Stark started his career at the Philadelphia Inquirer, which lasted about 21 years. Only writing columns for the Inquirer, Stark wanted to live out his dream job as a full-time writer for baseball. He could have stayed there his whole career if he wanted to, but Stark wanted more than that. 

He knew a lot of people who worked at ESPN, which would help him land this job later on. When ESPN wanted to gear up their coverage in baseball, Stark’s friends pointed him out. 

Stark got a call from Jeff Schneider, who was the coordinator producer of “Baseball Tonight.” They wanted him to come for an interview the next day. Stark was still working for the Philadelphia Inquirer, so he told him he couldn’t just leave. After the phone call, Stark realized he couldn’t miss the opportunity. He snuck out of spring training, got on a plane, and flew to Connecticut. Stark would end up getting the job.

In 2001, he left the Philadelphia Inquirer to join ESPN. There, he became the first full-time baseball writer for ESPN.

“Pizza With The Pros” will continue throughout the spring semester, with next week’s guest being New York Mets broadcaster, Pat McCarthy.

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