The real Hall of Fame season — a truly terrible time on the baseball calendar — doesn’t start until later in the winter. That doesn’t mean we’re totally bereft of Hall of Fame news, though. On Friday, the eight finalists were announced for this year’s Frick Award. For those who don’t know, the Frick Award is given out each year to a broadcaster who is then included in Hall of Fame induction weekend to give a speech as a reward. It is named for Ford Frick, the former commissioner of baseball. Last year’s winner was Al Helfer, a former Brooklyn Dodgers radio announcer.
Among the candidates this year is the one and only Joe Castiglione, who is of course the longtime radio voice for the Red Sox on WEEI.
On Dec. 11, the Frick Award winner will be named. The ballot: @RedSox Joe Castiglione, @BlueJays Jacques Doucet, @Indians Tom Hamilton, @WhiteSox Ken Harrelson, @Cubs Pat Hughes, @RedSox Ned Martin, @Cardinals Mike Shannon and @RaysBaseball Dewayne Staats. https://t.co/ltPIWLjojr pic.twitter.com/HCFfFxBN0B— National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ (@baseballhall) November 1, 2019
I have some thoughts on Castig, but I have to link to Bryan’s piece on him from a couple of years ago first. He said it all better than I can. All I will add is that, although I don’t listen to a ton of baseball on the radio anymore — it’s a lot harder to do recaps based on radio than television — Castig’s voice is still the one I associate with baseball. Some of my most cherished memories of the game when I was young was listening to west coast games when I was supposed to be sleeping — I didn’t have a TV in my room growing up but I did have a radio — and acting out each at bat to the voice of Castig. He’s a legend in this area for good reason. He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2014.
I have no idea if Castiglione is the favorite to win this year, because the nature of this award is that everyone is extremely localized. At least that is the case this year. There is a rotating schedule in which each year they switch between honoring local voices, national voices and pioneers of the industry. This is, of course, a local year.
There are a couple other finalists with Red Sox connections eligible this year, too. Ned Martin was a longtime voice of the Red Sox with whom I’m sure many have similar connections that I have with Castig. He called games on both radio and television from 1961 to 1992. Hawk Harrelson played for the Red Sox in the late-60s and was a broadcaster for them a decade later. He is best known, though, for his long career calling games for the White Sox.
Every one of the nominees has a long history with some or multiple fan bases, which is why they are finalists in the first place. Castiglione is clearly ours from this group, though, at least for those in my generation. The award is voted on by a panel of former winners, and the winner will be announced December 11 at the Winter Meetings.