Claire Smith

Profile photo of Claire Smith

Claire Smith

    • Claire Smith Center for Sports Media

      • Founding Executive Director

  • Lew Klein College of Media and Communication

    • Journalism

      • Assistant Professor of Practice


Claire Smith has been a pioneer within the baseball community for 40 years. She was the first female to cover a major-league baseball beat full-time, covering the New York Yankees for the Hartford Courant for half a decade before becoming the second national baseball columnist in the country.

Claire Smith has been an influential voice among African American writers and editors throughout her career in newspapers and television. 

In December 2016, she was named the 68th recipient of the Baseball Writers Association of America’s Career Excellence Award, the highest honor a baseball writer can receive. Smith is the first woman to win the award, and the fourth African American, following the esteemed Sam Lacy, Wendell Smith and Larry Whiteside. She was honored at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s annual induction weekend in Cooperstown in July 2017. 

Smith was also presented the 2017 “Robie Award” for Lifetime Achievement by the Jackie Robinson Foundation. 
Smith began her career in sports journalism in her home state of Pennsylvania, receiving her first sports assignments at the Philadelphia Bulletin. She remained with her hometown paper until its demise in 1982. She then covered the Yankees for five years, beginning in 1982 for The Hartford Courant; she then spent three years as national baseball columnist for the Connecticut daily. 

In 1990, Smith moved on to the New York Times, where she became that paper’s first national baseball columnist, holding that position for eight years. She moved on to the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1998, where she served as an assistant sports editor and columnist until 2007.  She then took the position of coordinating editor at ESPN, working for the multimedia giant from 2007 to 2021.

A graduate of Temple University, Smith returned to her alma mater in July 2021 as an assistant professor with Klein School of Media and Communications. 
Leading up to the BBWAA Career Excellence Award honors, Smith was a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee and winner of three New York Times Publishers’ Awards. In 2014, Temple honored Smith with a Lew Klein Alumni in the Media Award and inducted her into the School of Media and Communication Hall of Fame. 

Smith was also named the inaugural winner of the Sam Lacy-Wendell Smith Award for the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland in 2013. Other milestones included being named the Sports Journalist of the Year from the National Association of Black Journalists in 1997, the Mary Garber Pioneer Award from the Association for Women in Sports Media (2000), the Sam Lacy Award at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (2010) and SAbR’s 2021 Dorothy Seymour Mills Lifetime Achievement Award. On Oct. 14, 2021, Smith was named as a member of the NABJ Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. 

Smith was the New York chapter chair for the BBWAA in 1995 and ’96 and has served on three Hall of Game Era committees.

Smith, dedicated to diversity in journalism, has, with the assistance of the Black Women in Sports Foundation, awarded over the years The Bernice A. Smith scholarship to Temple University students who exemplify the drive and hunger for learning exuded by her mother – a fellow Temple alum. 
Smith, 68, mother of one son, Joshua, lives in Pennsylvania. 

Courses Taught




JRN 1196

Writing and Reporting


JRN 3763

The Influence of Sports Media on Modern Society