Results tagged ‘ Red Barber ’

2010 Ford C. Frick Award winner to be announced in February

Muder_90.jpgBy Craig Muder

As Spring Training approaches, the sounds of baseball are making their return to Florida and Arizona.

But fans will really know the 2010 season is at hand when their favorite broadcasters return to the airwaves with the debut of the exhibition season.

01-21-10-Muder_AllenBarber.jpgFor many, the National Pastime is incomplete without the voices and descriptions of the men and women on radio and television. And during the first week of February, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will honor the best of the best with the announcement of the winner of the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters.

The 10 finalists for the 2010 Frick Award will be considered by the Frick Award Committee, which consists of the 15 living Frick Award winners and five historians. The Committee consists of past honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Dave Niehaus, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolff – and historians/columnists Bob Costas, Barry Horn, Stan Isaacs, Ted Patterson and Curt Smith.

The 10 finalists for the 2010 Frick Award are: Billy Berroa, Skip Caray, Tom Cheek, Jacques Doucet, Lanny Frattare, Graham McNamee, Jon Miller, Joe Nuxhall, Herb Score and Dave Van Horne. Bios of each of the 10 finalists are being posted daily at www.baseballhall.org.

The 2010 Ford C. Frick Award winner will be honored at Hall of Fame Induction Weekend July 23-26 in Cooperstown.

Craig Muder is director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Frick voting under way on Facebook

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

The bubbling world of social networking is getting even busier at the Hall of Fame.

The baseball season ended a month ago and we’re over 100 days away from Opening Day, but the Hall’s Facebook site started buzzing this morning and most likely will remain at a fever pitch through the end of the month.

12-01-09-Hayes_Mathews.jpgWhy? Fan voting started for the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting. The people are speaking and they are letting us know which broadcasters deserve to be honored with legends like Mel Allen, Red Barber, Vin Scully and Jack Buck. Growing up in Kansas City, 2007 Frick winner Denny Mathews provided the soundtrack to my summers. And now fans of this great game can make their voices heard on Facebook.

From now through Dec. 31, 2009 at 5 p.m. EST, fans will choose three broadcasters to be placed on the final ballot. They and seven other finalists and will be voted on in January and the 2010 honoree will be announced in February.

In order to vote, please visit the Hall of Fame Facebook page at www.facebook.com/baseballhall. Frick voting is listed under the polls tab at the top of the page. Fans must have a Facebook account and must be logged in to cast a vote, but voting is unlimited. Vote totals appearing on the site may not be current.

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Oct. 28, 1953: Barber makes New York switch

Lawrence_90.jpgBy Thomas Lawrence

Perching in his beloved “Catbird Seat,” Red Barber always called it like he saw it.

“Get to the park early. Do your homework. Be prepared. Be accurate. He was a stickler for that,” said Vin Scully, speaking about his mentor Barber – the long-time voice of the Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and Yankees.

After spending five years with Cincinnati (1934-38) and 15 with the Dodgers (1939-53), Barber took a job with the Yankees 56 years ago Wednesday – on Oct. 28, 1953. It was just 22 days after those same Yankees defeated his Dodgers in the World Series.

10-28-09-Lawrence_Barber.jpgWalter Lanier “Red” Barber was born on Feb. 17, 1908, in Columbus, Miss., and was a fearless professional and baseball fan from the start.

While attending the University of Florida in Gainesville, Barber got his start in broadcasting in 1930, which led to his hiring by the Reds and his first game on April 17, 1934. Only it wasn’t just his first broadcast – it was the first big league game he’d been to.

Barber wasn’t afraid to try new things behind the mic, revolutionizing phrases like “rhubarb,” “can of corn” and “the bases are F.O.B.” – which stood for “Full of Brooklyns.”

He was there when Bobby Thomson hit the shot heard round the world, when Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and when Don Larsen tossed his perfect game for the Yankees in 1956. Barber was also there on Aug. 26, 1939, when his Dodgers took on the Reds in the first ever televised game.

It was his professionalism, his originality and his candor that made him the first recipient of the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 1978 – along with fellow Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen.

Since then other transcendent voices of the game like Vin Scully (1982), Jack Buck (1987), Harry Caray (1989) and Harry Kalas (2002) have taken home the Frick Award.

Thomas Lawrence was the 2009 publications intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Jackie Robinson Day

Hayes_90.jpgBy Trevor Hayes

All Major Leaguers wore the No. 42 yesterday in honor of one man. It’s amazing to me that a number can be retired throughout a sport to honor just one person. But then the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson are far beyond amazing.

I recently finished reading Jonathan Eig’s book Opening Day, about Robinson’s first season in the Majors. Let me just say this — I knew what he accomplished was hard, but I really had no clue. The truth about Robinson’s first season goes way beyond anything I ever knew beforehand.

The hatred he faced in the early part of the season is nothing I can even comprehend. Death threats — something Hank Aaron also received while chasing the Babe — were just the tip of it. 4-16-09-Hayes_Mets42.jpgHe had really had no friends other than his wife and infant son. Players threatened to stop playing, thinking the game would continue without Robinson and other black players.

I was born after the Civil Rights Movement, so for me to try to understand the environment is tough. The book, however, gave me a good clue. One of Eig’s main sources was Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson. Between the research Eig did in newspapers and interviews with Rachel, the book painted a picture for me that I can more fully appreciate.

I had the good fortune to say hello and shake Rachel’s hand in November when the Hall of Fame dedicated the Character and Courage statues in the lobby of the Museum. Eig was also there that day and participated in a Voices of the Game event with Roberto Clemente‘s sons. I learned that day that baseball can mean so much more. The game follows the ebb and flow of the nation.

A lot of things have been said about why Branch Rickey signed Robinson. Regardless of the original reason, Robinson became an icon not just for African-Americans but for people throughout the country. He was Martin Luther King Jr. before the Civil Rights Movement had a face. Malcolm X charted Robinson’s batting average while listening to Red Barber on the radio.

The Robinsons were celebrated but were also outcasts. They lived a fairly secluded life, but Jackie may have been the most recognizable face in America — and most certainly was the most recognizable African-American next to Joe Louis.

His success that first season proved a color line should have never been drawn. He carried the team for parts of the season, and he made thousands of people instant Dodger fans. His style of play made the game a thrill ride. It was aggressive, it was fast-paced and it was exciting.

Babe Ruth changed the game with the home run, but Jackie Robinson revolutionized it. He opened the door, and talent flooded through. Larry Doby was in the Majors by July. Dan Bankhead joined the Dodgers for the playoff push. But Jackie was first. He faced unreal circumstances and showed he could flourish. The bravery, skill and spirit he displayed are attributes that we can admire.

Robinson deserves every bit of appreciation we can gather. He is immortalized here at the Hall of Fame in the Plaque Gallery. The month of November has been designated Character and Courage Month to celebrate Robinson and two players he shared those characteristics with — Clemente and Lou Gehrig. Their statues in the lobby serve as year-round reminders of traits we should all aspire to exhibit. The entrance to the Mets’ new ballpark, Citi Field, was dedicated to him. The Jackie Robinson Rotunda replicates the entrance to Ebbets Field where Jackie broke the color barrier. His No. 42 hangs in every ballpark, and yesterday it was on the back of every player to take the field.

Trevor Hayes is the editorial production manager at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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