Detroit Free Press

Free Press columnist Mitch Albom has sold more than 28 million books worldwide.

At times, it might seem as if he has won as many writing awards during his quarter-century with the Free Press. For instance, 13 times he has won the country’s most prestigious sports column-writing contest; only one other columnist has won it more than once.

This weekend, Albom was selected for the biggest prize of his journalism career: the Red Smith Award.

The award is bestowed annually for lifetime achievement by the Associated Press Sports Editors. It was started by the country’s sports editors in 1981 when it was presented to its namesake, the legendary New York columnist. In the ensuing years, it has been awarded to a who’s who of the most influential sportswriters and editors, including Jim Murray, Jimmy Cannon, Shirley Povich, Edwin Pope and Dick Schaap.

The voters are past APSE presidents and Red Smith winners, charged with identifying people who have made “major contributions to sports journalism.”

“Mitch’s work and career speak for themselves — he’s given much to Detroit, he’s a wonderful writer, he’s multi-talented, he’s earned his success and recognition,” said Paul Anger, editor and publisher of the Free Press. “And this award recognizes Mitch as among the greatest sports columnists ever.”

Anger, APSE’s president in 1994-95, spent 18 years as sports editor of the Miami Herald and saw the early days of Albom’s column-writing career in the early ’80s at the Herald’s rival, the Ft. Lauderdale News and Sun Sentinel.

Albom joined the Free Press in 1985. And the rest, as the awards prove, is remarkable history.

He will receive the Red Smith Award at the APSE’s June convention in Salt Lake City.


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