Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Frick Award to Canadian baseball fans: kiss my Cheek

Tom Cheek has once again failed to win the Ford C. Frick Award. The winner was Tony Kubek, was best known for working as a analysis on NBC's Game of the Week through the '80s, also did some work for the Jays.

(Trivia question - who recorded the last out on the last NBC Game of the Week?)

The baseball boys will have more to say on this later, but from this end it looks like Cheek will get in about the same time Tim Raines does (and will struggle to do so for many of the same reasons).

(The baseball boys will weigh in, after the jump.)

Edit 1 (Sager speaking). The story is posted to MLB.com. The dead giveaway of what a joke this is that they include a link to Tony Kubek's career playing statistics (for those who don't know, he was a very good shortstop for the Yankees in the '50s and '60s).

This award is for broadcasters, not members of the jockocracy who actually didn't ride the coattails of their athletic career, which can be said of Kubek (it also applies to Alan Ashby on the FAN 590). Hey, let's put Joe Morgan in the broadcasters' wing of the Hall next season, even though he's already in as a player, just to make sure.

This a sports nerd's bias, but fact you were a player should not even be mentioned. It rubs it in the face of every trained broadcaster who came up the hard way, past, present and future, making a profession of their passion.

The players have their own wing in the Hall of Fame. This is the second time it has happened in three years, Joe Nuxhall in 2006 being the other.

That's not to impugn either of those men. It does leave the appearance of cronyism, especially the part about having a "Yankees flavor" to this year's class with the induction of Joe Gordon, the second baseman from the 1940s.

The fact it's someone who did commentate Blue Jays game is a big lesson in irony. It was cool, back in the '80s, to watch games on CTV with the late, great Don Chevrier and Tony Kubek, knowing that we had a colour analyst who had played for the New York Yankees with Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Casey Stengel and all those cats.

Dave Niehaus from Seattle, no disrespect to him, was also a snub. Both of them were the play-by-play men from Day 1 for the two 1977 expansion teams, the Mariners and Blue Jays. Cheek called more playoff games, more World Series (including those when Telemedia did its own radio broadcast) and had a national as opposed to a regional following, but that didn't matter in the States.

Edit 2 (Rob this time): It's hard to feel outraged about the award when they've overlooked Cheek multiple times already. There's no question he deserves the recognition, but the Frick clearly isn't the way to do it, and if Cheek didn't win it the year he died, he probably won't any time soon. Congratulations to Kubek, I guess.

It was personally annoying when Jerry Coleman won in 2005, if only because his time spent filling in on the FAN with Jerry Howarth the year before during Cheek's health issues made listeners miss Tom all the more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Ford C. Frick the commissioner who insisted that an asterisk be put beside Roger Maris' name when he broke the Babe's record in '61?
Even though he's long gone, another good man gets screwed in Frick's name.
You know another word that rhymes with Frick....