By Mike Sherman, APSE First Vice President/Contest Chair

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times took first place in the Associated Press Sports Editors 2013 contest in Column Writing category in over 175,000 circulation category.

Plaschke, whose five-column entry included a story on the death of a Dodger Stadium usher who had been with the team since it arrived in Los Angeles in 1958,  will be presented a first-place plaque at the 2014 APSE Banquet June 28 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va.

Plaschke received four of six first-place votes to finish ahead of runner-up Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe and third-place finisher Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. The top 10 is listed below with links to each columnist’s Twitter pages and entries.

Sports editors in the over 175,000 circulation category submitted 78 Column Writing entries. Contest catchers numbered each entry, assuring they had been stripped of headlines, graphics, bylines and any other element that would identify the writer or news organization.

In early March, preliminary judges at the APSE Winter Conference in Indianapolis selected a top 10, with each judge ranking the entries in order from 1 to 10 separately on a secret ballot. Entries were given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second and so on down to 1 point for a 10th-place vote. The final 10 were given to a second judging group, which ranked the entries 1-10 in the same fashion. The winner and final rankings are determined by tallying the ballots.

The Column Writing category is judged based on style, writing quality, originality and local appeal. There is no restriction on subject matter and no requirement that the column appears regularly. Each news organization is permitted two entries in this category.

The contest is open to APSE members. Go to this link to join.

2013 APSE Contest: Column Writing, over 175,000 circulation

(First-place votes in parentheses)

1. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times (4), 57 points

Dodger Stadium usher worked to the end

As Jackie Robinson was making history, Wendell Smith wrote it

The cold truth Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis can't completely escape

They were two Caltech games for the record books

Lakers, Dwight Howard need to walk away from each other

2. Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe (1), 46 points

No chance Jacoby Ellsbury is staying with Red Sox

Your sports columnist is here to write, not to root

Sudden end to Bruins' magical Stanley Cup run

David Ortiz rejects talk of steroid use

Boston Marathon will never be the same

3. Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports, 44 points

Michigan star Trey Burke pays high regard to Rumeal Robinson, who'll be watching from prison

Harbaugh family tree branches out to comfort, celebrate Jim and John in emotional locker rooms

Johnny Manziel's suspension exposes ridiculousness of NCAA's double standards

Fourteen-year-old Tianlang Guan's mom has everything covered as he begins Masters journey

Scene at Daytona 'was like a war zone'

4. Tim Kawakami, The Mercury News, 34 points

In the first crisis moment of the Jim Harbaugh era, the 49ers fail, and fail badly

San Francisco Giants overpay Tim Lincecum for a reason

How Colin Kaepernick stole the job as 49ers quarterback

Are the Warriors a better playoff team without David Lee? You see it, you know it, and here’s why it’s true

Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll: How the rivalry began, what it tells us about both, and why it endures

5. Matt Hayes, Sporting News, 32 points

Like it or not, Jameis Winston is part of broken process

Carlos Hyde saves Buckeyes, but never should have played

Johnny Manziel can blame only Johnny Look At Me for troubles

Baylor's new look: Lots of wins, top talent and playing for titles

Auburn vs. Alabama: It's the Tigers' state now

6. Chris Gasper, The Boston Globe, 28 points

Patriots dropped the ball with Wes Welker

Johnny Manziel case latest example of NCAA hypocrisy

This Red Sox team achieved greatness quickly

NFL must take a stand on bullying and hazing

NHL losing fight with hypocrisy

7. David Lennon, Newsday, 23 points

Mets need to make a decision on Jordany Valdespin

Yankees know Robinson Cano is money

For baseball, instant replay is quite a challenge

MLB declares open season on A-Rod

Sources: Major changes coming to Japanese player posting system

8. Jill Painter, Los Angeles News Group, 23 points

Meet the Kings' Darryl Sutter — the quirky L.A. coach who knows how to win

Angel Cabrera, Adam Scott deserve thumbs up

UCLA on best behavior before Sun Bowl

Dwight Howard should do more than walk off the court

Awkward news conference begs question if Don Mattingly will return for Dodgers

9. Mike Wise, The Washington Post, 22 points

For Washington Redskins’ Alfred Morris, it’s too good to be believed

Colin Kaepernick isn’t out of central casting, but he may become new poster boy

Steve Gleason remains the spirit of New Orleans

Chief Zee, the Redskins and the setting sun

A word you shouldn’t use in any sentence

10. Steve Rosenbloom, Chicago Tribune, 21 points

Chicago Blackhawks keep their promise

Bears' defense saves dumbest for last

NHL has to suspend Boychuk for hit on Toews' head

How do Bulls find the superstar Rose never will be again?

NFL must think we're all brain-damaged

(Mike Sherman, APSE first vice president and contest chair, is sports editor of The Oklahoman. Email him at, follow him at @MikeSherman or call 405-475-3164.)