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Reporter LaVelle Neal III has become the first African American to be named President of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

The BBAWAA is a 108-year old organization. 48-year-old Neal currently serves as sports reporter of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Neal, who was serving as vice president, was elected into the head position at the BBWAA’s World Series meeting last week. He succeeds Susan Slusser, the first woman to head the organization.

Neal has covered Minnesota Twins baseball for the Tribune since 1998. Prior to that, he covered Kansas City. The Chicago native and graduate of University of Illinois can be heard occasionally on the air as a sports contributor. As president, LaVelle Neal III will serve a one-year term.

According to the website, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America was founded in 1908, and was established to:

Assist journalists covering Major League Baseball for daily newspapers. Its purpose is to ensure proper working conditions in press boxes and clubhouses, and to ensure its members have access to players and others in the game so members’ reporting can be accurate, fair and complete.

Today there are more than 700 active members of the BBWAA working for newspapers, magazines and major web sites. The main requirement for membership is still that a writer works for a newspaper or news outlet that covers major league baseball on a regular basis.

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