Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

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July 24, 2013

Hall of Fame Weekend stars await their moment in the sun


He transformed the Yankees into the most prominent team in town, moving out of the Polo Grounds and into Yankee Stadium.

“He loved being at the park and my grandmother went a little bit with him,” Vernon said. “Babe Ruth was an important person in his life and he really didn’t talk about it. He really didn’t talk about it. He had pictures and he just wanted you to take [the Yankees team and accomplishments] in as it was.”

Speaking on behalf of the late Tom Cheek was his wife, Shirley. Cheek was selected as the 2013 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, which honors excellence in broadcasting. A fixture in the Toronto Blue Jays booth, Cheek called the first 4,306 regular season games and 41 postseason games in Toronto history.

“I think Tom never really realized the impact he had until the day when they put his name up on the Wall of Excellence,” Shirley said. “He realized at that point how important he was to the club.”

As she looks ahead to Induction Weekend, Cheek is most excited to share the memories of Tom with loved ones and family members.

“My emotions right now are kind of at a high level. I realize now that it’s come down to crunch time, it’s the final week and it’s been building up since (December).

“I think (it’s) really important for my grandchildren (because) they don’t really remember their grandfather. I think they are kind of in awe about all of this and I think it will really hit home to them what the true meaning of what their grandfather did for Canada – and the Toronto Blue Jays.”

“I miss his voice most of all. He had such an amazing voice,” she added.

Jerry Watkins, the great grandson of Deacon White, will represent the bare-handed catcher and third baseman from the 19th century at Sunday’s Induction Ceremony.

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