Jayson Stark was born in Philadelphia and grew up reading the sports section, living and breathing sports. The local media helped develop Stark’s writing style, a product of his hometown, but unique in the broader sports journalism industry.
Stark, 68, attended Syracuse University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Newhouse School of Communications in 1973. While at Syracuse, Stark worked for The Daily Orange, the student newspaper, covering Syracuse athletics. He was promoted to news editor in his junior year, which reduced his game coverage, but he began to focus on column writing.
Soon after, he got a job at The Providence Journal, where he covered local news for a year. After a job opportunity opened up in the sports section, he applied and got the job. For the next several years, Stark covered the outdoors and major sports, like baseball. He also met well-known baseball writer Peter Gammons of The Boston Globe, who helped him develop as a young writer.
In 1979, Stark, through a family friend, got a job at The Philadelphia Inquirer as the beat writer for the Philadelphia Phillies. Stark covered the team during their World Series championship run in 1980 and several years after that before he became a nationally syndicated baseball columnist for the Inquirer. He worked at the paper until 2000, when he received a job offer at ESPN.
Gammons and long-time friend Tim Kurkjian recommended that Stark try out for a spot on “Baseball Tonight,” a nightly baseball program, which he got. Stark also became the first MLB writer on ESPN.com and worked for them for 17 years before getting let go in April 2017 by the company along with around 100 other staff members.
Stark decided to take some personal time off and family time for the rest of the baseball season. In that time, he made sporadic appearances on MLB Tonight among other television programs before he accepted an offer to be a national baseball writer at The Athletic, a subscription-based sports journalism website that covers professional and college sports across the country, in April 2018.
Over his 40-plus year career in sports journalism, Stark has written three books, all on baseball, won an Emmy for his work on Baseball Tonight and was twice named the Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. In 2017, Stark was inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Along with his current position with The Athletic, Stark also appears regularly on MLB Network and Stadium, the recently-created digital sports network, where he is the host of a series called “Baseball Stories.”