Hal McCoy was honored by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002 as the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. McCoy will be honored Nov. 17 as a “Living Legend of the Dayton Daily News.” FILE PHOTO

McCoy to be honored as DDN ‘living legend’

Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy will be honored at the “Living Legends of the Dayton Daily News Archives” event on Nov. 17 at Wright State University.

The program begins at 7 p.m. in the Endeavour Room in the WSU student union. Doors open at 6:30 and the event is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the visitors lot.

McCoy will talk about his career covering the Cincinnati Reds and answer questions. He will be the seventh Daily News journalist honored. The annual program recognizes a Dayton Daily News/Cox Media Group Ohio editor, writer or photographer.

“I always appreciate the recognition,” McCoy said. “This is pretty special.”

Honorees are chosen by Wright State and Cox Media Group Ohio.

Wright State’s Special Collections and Archives, the University Libraries, and the Department of Communication in the College of Liberal Arts started the program in 2010 by honoring photographer Ty Greenlees.

By his count, McCoy has won more than 50 state and national writing awards. He was honored in 2002 by the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which is awarded “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.”

McCoy, 76, was inducted into the Dayton Walk of Fame earlier this year and is the only non-Cincinnati area resident in the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame.

He still writes his popular “Ask Hal” column for the Dayton Daily News, Springfield News-Sun and the JournalNews during the baseball season. His blog — “The Real McCoy” — has been a staple of daytondailynews.com for several years.

Earlier this year, he launched his own website: HalMcCoy.com

McCoy makes many public appearances and signings for his book: “The Real McCoy: My half-century with the Cincinnati Reds.” The book is in its third printing.

Promoting his work forced him to do something he used to resist.

“I used to hate public speaking,” McCoy said. “When I had an engagement I could not sleep the night before. Since I wrote the book and have done so many, I really like it.”

He said he spoke last week to the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and received a standing ovation.

McCoy lost most of the sight in both eyes when he suffered strokes to the optic nerves in 2001 and 2002. He kept working, though, proving to be an inspiration to many.

Last year, he received a special implant in his left eye that restored his long-distance vision.

“I can see 20/20 from a distance out of my left eye, but I can’t see up close,” he said. “That’s still dark and fuzzy.”

McCoy is best-known for his award-winning coverage of the Reds, but he has reported on a variety of sports during his career — from high school basketball to the NFL to The Masters.

McCoy was born and raised in Akron and graduated with honors from Kent State University.

His given name is Harold Stanley McCoy Jr., but he became known as Hal after a photographer covering a Little League all-star game in which Hal starred got his name wrong.

“I liked it, though, so it stuck,” McCoy said.

He lives in Englewood with his wife, Nadine, and his two dogs, Paige and Cooper.