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.
I’ll never forget the summer of 1995.
I was 13 years old, just about to enter the eighth grade and in love with the Cleveland Indians. But I wasn’t just some fair-weather fan. In my mind, I had dealt with the hardships of the bad years, having lived through the late 80’s and early 90’s teams that lost almost all of the time. I couldn’t stand that it was suddenly sopopular to root for the Indians. The words “fair weather fans” became a part of my regular vocabulary during the summer of ’95. Where were all of you when the rest of us were all rooting for a losing team? It wasn’t until I was in college and the glory years were almost over that I realized that I hadn’t really “dealt” with anything.
“Kids growing up (in the 90’s) and that’s all they knew…they’re in trouble,” former Indian and TV color man Rick Manning said. “Now look at it…it’s not even close. (The way it is now) is how Indians baseball was when I played (1975-1983) and even before me.”
People my age are spoiled. I’m only 30-some years old and have seen the best, most exciting stretch of baseball that Cleveland has ever had. Sure, I haven’t seen my Tribe win the ultimate prize, but heck, my father just turned 60 and has seen the exact same amount of World Series titles that I have. We’ve seen the same amount of pennants as well, unless you count the one in 1954 when he was two (even with as big of a baseball fan as my dad is, I doubt that he was paying attention at two).
Throughout the 2015 season, Did the Tribe Win Last Night will take a look back at the 1995 Cleveland Indians for the 20th anniversary of their fourth pennant winning season. Included will be historic game recaps, headlining stories and a ranking of the team’s most influential players that truly made 1995 The Greatest Summer Ever. Today looks back September 8, 1995.
At long last, the Cleveland Indians are the 1995 American League Central Division Champions.
Let that sink in for a second before you pop the champagne.
The Cleveland Indians…champions.
This is the same franchise that lost 105 games four years ago. It’s the same one we watched struggle and end each of the last 41 years (a baseball record for futility) in frustration. The same one that was picked to win the World Series less than a decade ago and instead finished in the basement of the AL East. Now, they’re going to the playoffs and are ready to party like its 1948.
The Cleveland Indians are the American League Central Division Champions.