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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ESPN: Bob Costas wins Hall of Fame’s Frick Award for broadcasting

He didn’t need a wild card to get in. Congratulations, Mr. Costas.

“Because of my love of baseball and because of the other names that (won the Frick Award), this is at the top of the list,” he said on a conference call. “No disrespect of all the other awards, because they all mean a lot to me, but this means the most.”

Mixing history, anecdotes and analysis, Costas is popular with viewers and listeners, using his words to paint pictures from the parks.

“For almost 40 years, Bob Costas has presented an incredibly thoughtful and informed voice on every game he calls for NBC, The Baseball Network and MLB Network,” Hall President Jeff Idelson said.

“But it’s Bob’s pure affection for baseball that has made him a national treasure. From the first day he entered our living rooms, Bob became one of the national pastime’s greatest friends,” he said.

AndrewJ Posted: December 13, 2017 at 09:24 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, broadcasters, cooperstown, television

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 14, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5592848)
I'm surprised he hadn't received it already. Even though I find him very annoying at times, this is well-deserved.
   2. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5592864)
Mixing history, anecdotes and analysis

...into a broth consisting primarily of sanctimony.
   3. dlf Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:03 PM (#5592865)
I really enjoy his play-by-play. I find much of his studio hosting, particularly for the olympics, to be overly smarmy and too-cute, but during the games, especially now on the MLB network when he has nothing left to prove, he's good.
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:21 PM (#5592887)
I'm surprised he hadn't received it already. Even though I find him very annoying at times, this is well-deserved.



I have to agree with everything written by Walt here. I had assumed he already won it, and the fact that he hadn't would have made him the "favorite" in any type of betting situation. I think he's a bit sanctimonious at times, but overall he does a pretty good job. If you are listening to him and can't tell he loves the sport, you need to listen closer. He's the anti- Joe Buck in this regards (and yes I am pretty confident Joe actually does love baseball, but too often he sounds like he doesn't care)
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:23 PM (#5592889)
Long overdue for Costas, but better late than never. One of the very best in the business, and his love for what he does shows through in every broadcast.

Looking over the list of past winners, the one that jumps out is the 2006 award for Graham McNamee, who basically invented play-by-play and who's been dead for 75 years. His broadcasts sound hyperbolic to modern ears, but then he was working under primitive conditions, and in his time he was as relatively well known as any broadcaster has ever been. I'm amazed it took them that long to honor one of the industry's true giants.
   6. Greg Pope Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:26 PM (#5592895)
Agree with what's been said. He has some things that bug me, but the love of the game comes through. And that means a lot.
   7. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:26 PM (#5592897)
If you are listening to him and can't tell he loves the sport, you need to listen closer.


This is my take on Costas too. I think one of the reasons some of his sanctimony comes through is that he is bothered because he loves the game so much. I think Costas is a guy who even if it wasn't his job would watch baseball every night. It's my belief that that is a rarer thing than we expect.
   8. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: December 14, 2017 at 05:29 PM (#5592902)
You want to give your sports highest broadcaster honor to the guy that has spent the last 20 years shitting on your product non-stop.
   9. QLE Posted: December 14, 2017 at 07:00 PM (#5592949)
I'm amazed it took them that long to honor one of the industry's true giants.


The Frick Award has tended to prefer recent (or at least relatively recent) announcers at the expense of those of the past- Arch McDonald is the only other recipient whose career was entirely pre-1960, and many of the recipients either were still active to some degree at the time of their award or had been until relatively recently. Add to that what little exists of his baseball broadcasting (hosting the 1934 and 1935 World Series coverage and participation in a few early All-Star Game broadcasts) and the fact that he never had a local affiliation (and, with that, no local fan base to lobby for him), and his neglect is nor surprising.
   10. AndrewJ Posted: December 14, 2017 at 08:51 PM (#5593002)
Hard to believe Bob's 65 now.
   11. reech Posted: December 14, 2017 at 09:50 PM (#5593024)
I met him once at a banquet back in the 90's. He was extremely nice and forgiving of my drunken attempts to get a picture with him.
   12. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: December 14, 2017 at 10:40 PM (#5593045)
I'm a little surprised by how positive most of these posts have been, but I want to chime in. Costas isn't perfect, of course, and he's grown a crotchety as he's got older. But as a broadcaster, he's second only to the radio giants like Keith Jackson, Vin Scully, and Ernie Harwell, in terms of his appreciation for sports, his on-the-spot eloquence, and his understanding of the art. Maybe he's a bit milquetoast, and beholden to the unsupported legends of the game, but when it comes to telling the story of baseball out loud, Costas has been a constant, positive presence. Like those above, I'm a little surprised he hadn't already received this honor.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 14, 2017 at 10:42 PM (#5593046)
I'm amazed it took them that long to honor one of the industry's true giants.

The Frick Award has tended to prefer recent (or at least relatively recent) announcers at the expense of those of the past- Arch McDonald is the only other recipient whose career was entirely pre-1960, and many of the recipients either were still active to some degree at the time of their award or had been until relatively recently. Add to that what little exists of his baseball broadcasting (hosting the 1934 and 1935 World Series coverage and participation in a few early All-Star Game broadcasts) and the fact that he never had a local affiliation (and, with that, no local fan base to lobby for him), and his neglect is nor surprising.


It still surprises me, given that the so-called "writers' wing" of the HoF** has given its Spink Award to tons of long ago writers. And McNamee really was a broadcasting pioneer.

In 1939 Arch McDonald was the first Yankees mic man along with Mel Allen, and when the Yankees were on the road he'd broadcast the Giants games. But his southern accent apparently didn't go over too well,*** and the next year he was back in Washington.

Arch had two signature calls when he was the Senators' announcer that somehow didn't make it into the writeups of him that I've seen.

BITD (in the 30's) Griffith Stadium had a "colored" section down the right field line. Whenever a foul ball was hit into it, McDonald would say "there's a foul ball into the coal bin".

And when he did re-creations of games when the Nats were on the road, whenever a foul ball came over the Western Union wire he'd add a bit of drama by calling the pitch like this:

"Here it comes.....AND THERE IT GOES! [loud crack of the bat in the studio].....Foul, over the screen."

They don't make em like they used to.

** Yes, yes, I know it isn't really that

*** That was the line, anyway, but it seems kind of odd, given that the two most famous and beloved NYC broadcasters in those years---Mel Allen (from Alabama) and Red Barber (from Mississippi)---both had much stronger southern accents than McDonald did.
   14. QLE Posted: December 14, 2017 at 11:25 PM (#5593056)
It still surprises me, given that the so-called "writers' wing" of the HoF** has given its Spink Award to tons of long ago writers. And McNamee really was a broadcasting pioneer.


Oh, agreed, agreed- it seems that their establishing it so that now one out of three Frick Awards has to come from the early 1950s and before is an acknowledgement of the fact that they've neglected that era, and it should be interesting to see who from that era they give the award to next year.
   15. bachslunch Posted: December 15, 2017 at 04:57 AM (#5593078)
While I’ll admit Costas is an okay announcer, I can’t stand him. To me, he comes across as priggish and sanctimonious, the kind of superior snot you want to take down about 50 notches.
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 15, 2017 at 07:29 AM (#5593083)
It still surprises me, given that the so-called "writers' wing" of the HoF** has given its Spink Award to tons of long ago writers. And McNamee really was a broadcasting pioneer.

Oh, agreed, agreed- it seems that their establishing it so that now one out of three Frick Awards has to come from the early 1950s and before is an acknowledgement of the fact that they've neglected that era, and it should be interesting to see who from that era they give the award to next year.


Well, McNamee was kind of a special case, since during his career play-by-play broadcasting was in its infancy. He way predated those other broadcasters whose careers spanned mostly from the very late 30's and 40's into the 50's through 70's. His recognition was for his unique place in broadcasting history, not for his announcing skills.
   17. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 15, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5593181)
Hard to believe Bob's 65 now.


I was surprised to find out a few years ago that he is younger than me. He always had an old man's game, I suppose.

I'm pretty much in the same camp as most here, heavy on the sanctimony, but he loves the game and is excellent at play-by-play.
   18. asinwreck Posted: December 15, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5593203)
Looking over the list of past winners, the one that jumps out is the 2006 award for Graham McNamee, who basically invented play-by-play and who's been dead for 75 years.

Leave it to Milo Hamilton to supply a quote revealing his unpleasant nature.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 15, 2017 at 01:30 PM (#5593354)
Leave it to Milo Hamilton to supply a quote revealing his unpleasant nature.

What quote was that? Did he trash McNamee?
   20. donlock Posted: December 15, 2017 at 03:01 PM (#5593424)
Just be be clear, to pre-empt stories that say Costas will join the players he has talked about in the Hall of Fame, he is not going to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The award is given at the HOF but the balloting and voting are not connected with the players' ballots and winners selected by a different group of voters.

These awards seem to be given more to national (or LA, NY) broadcasters and writers as really who has ever regularly heard or read the work of the nominees from Seattle or Minnesota or Tampa or wherever.It is much easier to vote for Costas, who is competent but no more than others who also share a love of the game.
   21. Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: December 15, 2017 at 03:14 PM (#5593431)
When I was a kid and just getting into baseball I very much enjoyed Mr. Costas' commentary, and for some time just kinda assumed that he was the real-life version of Kermit the Frog, until it became clear that things don't work that way. Congrats to him, whatever this honor amounts to is well deserved.
   22. DavidFoss Posted: December 15, 2017 at 03:18 PM (#5593433)
These awards seem to be given more to national (or LA, NY) broadcasters and writers as really who has ever regularly heard or read the work of the nominees from Seattle or Minnesota or Tampa or wherever.It is much easier to vote for Costas, who is competent but no more than others who also share a love of the game.

Some of the local play-by-play guys hold their jobs for decades. I think they try to honor the guys who did it for so long that their voice became synonymous with their team. Herb Carneal (MIN), Dave Niehaus (SEA), Denny Matthews (KCR). These guys might not be as famous nationally as Scully, Allen or even Harwell, but its nice that they get honored too.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 15, 2017 at 05:02 PM (#5593504)
Some of the local play-by-play guys hold their jobs for decades. I think they try to honor the guys who did it for so long that their voice became synonymous with their team. Herb Carneal (MIN), Dave Niehaus (SEA), Denny Matthews (KCR). These guys might not be as famous nationally as Scully, Allen or even Harwell, but its nice that they get honored too.

Lots of others in that category have been honored: By Saum of the Philadelphia A's and Phillies; Jimmy Dudley of the Indians; Chuck Thompson of the Orioles; Jerry Coleman of the Padres; Felo Ramirez of the Marlins; Eric Nadel of the Rangers; Oakland's Bill King; etc. Thompson called the 1960 World Series on TV, and Coleman was a Yankees' second baseman, but those others were almost completely unknown outside of the range of their broadcasting signal.

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