The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors has restructured the procedures for the Ford C. Frick Award selection process, refining the criteria and organizing candidates by era, with changes effective immediately.
The Ford C. Frick Award has been presented annually since 1978 by the museum for excellence in baseball broadcasting. Annual winners are announced as part of the Baseball Winter Meetings each year, and the award is presented the following summer during Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
Beginning with the 2014 Award, the selection process will reflect an era-committee, similar to the veteran’s committee, where eligible candidates will be grouped together by years of most significant contributions of their broadcasting careers.
The three cycles will reflect eras of major transformations in broadcasting and media.
The “High Tide Era,” to be voted on this fall, announced in December at the Winter Meetings and presented during the annual Hall of Fame Awards Presentation in 2014, will consider candidates whose contributions have come during the regional cable network era, beginning with the mid-1980s through today.
The “Living Room Era,” to be presented in 2015, will consider candidates whose most significant years fell during the mid-1950s through the early 1980s, as the game spread through television and into homes across the country.
The “Broadcasting Dawn Era,” to be presented in 2016, will consider candidates who contributed to the early days of baseball broadcasting, from its origins through the early-1950s.
The totality of each candidate’s career will be considered, though the era in which the broadcaster is deemed to have had the most significant impact will be determined by a Hall of Fame research team.
A list of candidates eligible for the High Tide Era have been released and can be found at http://baseballhall.org/museum/awards/ford-c-frick/high-tide-era. Fans are given the opportunity to select three of the 10 finalists for the 2014 ballot through fan voting at the museum’s Facebook page. Voting runs through Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. The top three vote-getters in the Facebook vote will be placed on the 10-person final ballot.
A Hall of Fame research committee will set the remainder of the ballot. The final 10-name ballot will be announced in early October.
The 20-member Frick Award Committee will cast ballots during November, with the 2014 winner announced during the 2013 Baseball Winter Meetings from Orlando, Fla., Dec. 10-11. The Frick Award electorate is comprised of the 16 living Frick Award recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists, including Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff, and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
Thirty-seven broadcasters have been presented with the Frick Award with Mel Allen and Red Barber selected as the first recipients in 1978. A single winner has been selected in each year since 1979. The late Tom Cheek, former Toronto announcer, received the honor in 2013.
Voters are asked to base their selections on longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, network, or a combination of the two.
The Ford C. Frick Award was named in memory of the sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and Baseball commissioner.