Cleveland Indians radio announcer Tom Hamilton was named as one of eight finalists on Friday for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual Ford C. Frick Award.
This year’s Ford C. Frick Award focuses on “Current Major League Markets” (team-specific announcers) after recognizing “Broadcasting Beginnings” last year and “National Voices” the fall before. Criteria for selection for the Ford C. Frick Award, as established by the Board of Directors, includes a “commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers.” To be eligible for consideration, the broadcaster (either active or retired) must have worked for ten continuous seasons with a club or network. According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, more than 200 broadcasters fit those qualifications this year.
Joining Hamilton as finalists are Jacques Doucet (Toronto), Pat Hughes (Boston), Ned Martin, Mike Shannon (St. Louis), Dewayne Staats (Tampa Bay), former Cleveland TV broadcaster Joe Castiglione (Boston), and former Indians first baseman and outfielder Ken Harrelson (Chicago White Sox), who played for Cleveland from 1969 to 1971.
Hamilton joined the Indians organization beginning with the 1990 season and has spent all 30 years of his Major League service with the Indians after working three years on the farm with the Columbus Clippers (then an affiliate of the New York Yankees). He has won numerous awards in northeast Ohio and Ohio as a whole for his work in the booth with the Indians; he was named the Ohio Sportscaster of the Year on seven different occasions, he earned the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame Award in 2009, and he was inducted into The Press Club of Cleveland’s Journalism Hall of Fame in November of 2015. His 30 years in the booth are tied with Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio’s Rick Manning for the second-longest tenure in team history to Hamilton’s former broadcast partner, Herb Score, who spent 34 years in the booth (including eight with Hamilton).
Only one broadcaster recognized for his coverage of the Indians has received the Frick Award – Jimmy Dudley in 1997. Three others with ties to the Tribe – Gordon Cobbledick (1977), Hal Lebovitz (2000), and Sheldon Ocker (2018) – have been honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, the sportswriters’ equivalent of the broadcasting award.
Last year, Al Helfer became the 43rd winner of the award, which has been given out each season since 1978. He spent parts of four decades working for eight different organizations.
The 2020 Frick Award winner will be announced at the Baseball Winter Meetings on December 11 and will be permanently recognized in the museum as part of Hall of Fame weekend at Cooperstown, New York, at the end of July.
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