L.A. Times Columnist Bill Plaschke Honored with the APSE Red Smith Award

Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke poses in a suit for a staff portrait
L.A. Times Columnist Bill Plaschke
(Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles Times Columnist Bill Plaschke has earned the Red Smith Award from the Associated Press Sports Editors.

Considered to be one of the most prestigious honors in sports journalism, the Red Smith Award is given annually to a writer or editor who has made major contributions to the field. The award is named after Red Smith, whose sportswriting career spanned five decades. Recipients are enshrined at the APSE Red Smith Hall of Fame, located at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center in downtown Indianapolis.

“It is wonderful to see Bill Plaschke recognized for his exceptional work as the voice of Los Angeles sports,” said Iliana Limón Romero, The Times’ assistant managing editor for Sports. “After hundreds of columns that hit just the right note, whether heartfelt and emotional tales of noble underdogs or holding the powerful accountable, Bill has never lost his passion for chasing his next great column. He works hard at his craft and even harder at being a generous colleague and mentor to those who seek his guidance.”


Plaschke is a familiar name around APSE circles, having won top columnist in the awards program’s “A” category nine times since he became a signature columnist for the Los Angeles Times in 1996.

He has also been named top sports columnist twice by the Society of Professional Journalists and National Headliner Awards. Last year, he was named to the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame. Previously, he was the California winner of the NSMA award three times. And, he has been a regular on ESPN’s “Around the Horn” for more than two decades.

Plaschke came to the L.A. Times in 1987 after stints at the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. His first beat at The Times was baseball, covering both the San Diego Padres and L.A. Dodgers. He also was the national NFL writer before moving to columnist.

Among the awards Plaschke said he is most proud of is being named Man of the Year by the Los Angeles Big Brothers/Big Sisters and a Pursuit of Justice Award from the California Women’s Law Center. In addition, he is a frequent mentor to students and young journalists looking for advice.

Plaschke recently finished his sixth book, “Paradise Found,” about the Paradise High football team and its recovery from the fires that devastated the Northern California town. The book has been optioned for a movie.

Limón Romero said Plaschke will celebrate his award by covering a Lakers game and will follow that up with a Dodgers game. “He has ascended to sports journalism legend status, but we’re fortunate he still pushes himself to serve Los Angeles Times readers every day,” she said.


Legendary columnist Jim Murray, a Pulitzer winner, and former sports editor Bill Dwyre are The Times’ only previous Red Smith Award winners, and it’s been 28 years since The Times had a winner. “I felt humbled, honored and numb to be mentioned in the same breath as the greats that came before me,” said Plaschke in an APSE announcement. “And to now be on the same list as Jim Murray and Bill Dwyre, my L.A. Times family, I am overwhelmed.”

When the APSE Red Smith Hall of Fame was inaugurated at Indiana University, Plaschke was chosen as the keynote speaker. In his remarks he summed up the business of sports journalism: “The mediums are changing and the job descriptions are evolving, but for those of us who want to follow in the paths of the greats in the Red Smith Hall of Fame, there is still a place for us here. It’s still about the reader. It’s still about the words.”

A luncheon to honor Plaschke will be held at the APSE conference in Charlotte on June 21. To learn more, visit