A voice for baseball
By Samantha Carr
Dave Van Horne was broadcasting basketball and football in Virginia when he met Frank Soden, who told him about an opening in baseball broadcasting for the Richmond Braves of the International League.
“When I heard about an opening in baseball, I jumped on it,” said Van Horne.
Van Horne got the job and served as a broadcaster for Richmond from 1966-68, which marked the beginning of a very special career in baseball. He was named Wednesday as the 35th winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting and will be honored over Hall of Fame Weekend, July 22-25 in Cooperstown.
“This is the highest award a baseball broadcaster can receive,” he said. “I am obviously thrilled, humbled and very excited. It is the professional highlight of my career.”
While in Richmond, Van Horne broadcast Braves home games live, but worked on wire recreation for road games.
“It was a great learning process to broadcast games I was not attending or looking at,” said Van Horne.
Van Horne was introduced to John McHale, then president of the Atlanta Braves, who offered him a chance to go to Montreal and work for the Expos after McHale took over the National League’s newest expansion team.
“I knew about two weeks into the job at Richmond that baseball broadcasting was what I wanted to do if I could make a living at it,” said Van Horne. “Now I am entering my 43rd year.”
Van Horne has called games for the Expos and Marlins during his long career and been the voice of moments like Willie Mays’ 3,000th hit and Steve Carlton striking out his 4,000th batter.
Van Horne will join Pat Gillick, who was elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday by the Expansion Era Committee; Bill Conlin, winner of the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink Award; and any electees from the BBWAA election announced Jan. 5 at 2011 Hall of Fame Weekend.
“I am humbled to be among those people that are previous winners of this award,” said Van Horne. “This was a very overwhelming and emotional day.”
Samantha Carr is the manager of web and digital media for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.