– La Velle E. Neal III, who has covered the Twins for the Star Tribune for 16 seasons, on Saturday was elected president of the Baseball Writers Association of America at the organization’s annual World Series meeting.

Neal, 48, is the first black person elected to head the BBWAA, a professional organization for baseball journalists founded in 1908. He succeeds Susan Slusser, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle who last year became the first woman to hold the position.

A Chicago native who came to the Star Tribune from the Kansas City Star in 1998, Neal has served 11 terms as the BBWAA’s Twin Cities Chapter chairman, and last October he was elected the national organization’s vice president.

The BBWAA, which has more than 800 active members, serves as the liaison with Major League Baseball on behalf of newspaper, magazine and online reporters, advocating on such issues as access, credentials and standards. The BBWAA also votes on the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards each season, and elects players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.