Kubek named 2009 Ford C. Frick winner
NBC, Blue Jays, Yankees analyst called 11 World Series, 10 All-Star Games
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced Tuesday that Tony Kubek, an analyst for the NBC Game of the Week, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees for 30 years, has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting. Kubek will be honored with the award during the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Sunday, July 26, 2009, in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Kubek is the first exclusively television analyst to win the Frick Award, which has been presented annually since 1978. Kubek also becomes the first primarily television broadcaster to be honored since Bob Wolff in 1995 and the first Frick Award winner to have called games for a Canadian team.
"For an entire generation of baseball fans, Tony Kubek was the face and the voice of the game," said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. "In the days before all-sports TV networks, Tony brought baseball into your living room every Saturday afternoon for almost three decades. His straightforward style, quick and detailed analysis and no-nonsense commentary on the game's nuances gave viewers an insider's look at what the players were experiencing on the field."
Kubek joined the NBC broadcast booth in 1965 after retiring as a player that year. He served as an analyst on backup games from 1966-68, then was elevated to the primary broadcast in 1969. He worked with play-by-play partners Jim Simpson, 1984 Frick winner Curt Gowdy, 1991 Frick winner Joe Garagiola and Bob Costas through 1989, then concluded his career with the Yankees and the MSG Network from 1990-94. He also worked on local television broadcasts for The Sports Network and CTV for the Blue Jays from 1977-89, introducing one of North America's largest cities to the game of baseball.
Kubek broadcast 11 World Series and 14 American League Championship Series for NBC as well as 10 All-Star Games. Kubek also called the final NBC Game of the Week on Sept. 30, 1989, and that fall's ALCS, which ended a 43-relationship between the network and Major League Baseball.
Kubek was a four-time All-Star shortstop during a nine-year big league career with the Yankees from 1957-65. He earned the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1957 and appeared in six World Series, helping the Yankees win three championships. Kubek generously donated his Rookie of the Year Award to the Hall of Fame several years ago.
Kubek will be honored as an award recipient during Hall of Fame Weekend 2009, July 24-27, in Cooperstown, along with the 2009 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner. The Spink Award, which honors excellence in baseball writing, will be announced Wednesday, Dec. 10. Veterans Committee electee Joe Gordon will be inducted during the July 26 ceremony along with any electees to emerge from 2009 Baseball Writers' Association of America election, the results of which will be announced Jan. 12.
The Ford C. Frick Award is voted upon annually and is named in memory of the sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and baseball Commissioner. The complete list of recipients includes:
Ford C. Frick Award Recipients
1978 Mel Allen 1988 Lindsey Nelson 1999 Arch McDonald
Red Barber 1989 Harry Caray 2000 Marty Brennaman
1979 Bob Elson 1990 By Saam 2001 Felo Ramirez
1980 Russ Hodges 1991 Joe Garagiola 2002 Harry Kalas
1981 Ernie Harwell 1992 Milo Hamilton 2003 Bob Uecker
1982 Vin Scully 1993 Chuck Thompson 2004 Lon Simmons
1983 Jack Brickhouse 1994 Bob Murphy 2005 Jerry Coleman
1984 Curt Gowdy 1995 Bob Wolff 2006 Gene Elston
1985 Buck Canel 1996 Herb Carneal 2007 Denny Matthews
1986 Bob Prince 1997 Jimmy Dudley 2008 Dave Niehaus
1987 Jack Buck 1998 Jaime Jarrin 2009 Tony Kubek
Ten finalists for the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award were selected in October, featuring three fan selections from an online vote conducted at baseballhall.org and seven broadcasters chosen by a research committee from the Cooperstown-based museum. The final ballot contained a mix of pioneers and current-day broadcasters and was voted upon by a 20-member electorate. The 10 finalists: Billy Berroa, Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Dizzy Dean, Jacques Doucet, Lanny Frattare, Kubek, Graham McNamee, Joe Nuxhall and Dave Van Horne. Doucet, Frattare, Kubek and Van Horne were the living candidates.
In September, Nuxhall (19,547 fan votes), Doucet (10,282) and Cheek (8,992) finished as the top three vote-getters in the Museum's online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot. Kubek has been on the ballot in each of the last five years.
The 20-member electorate, comprised of the 15 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Denny Matthews, Dave Niehaus, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Wolff, and historians/columnists: Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of NY Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian)).
Voters were asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. This year's balloting process marked the sixth time fans had the opportunity to be a part of selecting the final ballot for the award, after changes to the voting process were implemented by the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors in 2003.
To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network, or a combination of the two. More than 200 broadcasters were eligible for consideration for this year's award, with bios of each candidate appearing at the Web site.