Ford Frick Award
The Ford C. Frick Award is named after Commissioner Ford Frick, who began his involvement with baseball as a member of the media. It has been awarded annually for "meritorious service by baseball broadcasters" since 1978. The winner's name is inscribed on a plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame and are honored at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony that follows the announcement of the award.
Often, winners of the Frick Award are introduced as a "Hall of Famer;" this is incorrect as Frick Award winners are not inducted to the Hall of Fame. It is, however, the highest award given to broadcasters by the Hall of Fame. To date, no broadcaster has been elected to the actual Hall.
Traditionally, winners of the Frick Award were living broadcasters. It had only been awarded posthumously three times, to Russ Hodges, Bob Prince, and Arch McDonald, until in 2015 the Hall of Fame decided to hold a vote limited to candidates from the early era of broadcasting, resulting in the designation of Graham McNamee. The following year, Bill King was elected posthumously as well, although he was running against a number of living candidates.
Since the 2004 election, the Hall of Fame had allowed fans to winnow the list of nominees from ten to three. After the internet voting, a committee of twenty, composed of past winners and other media personalities, selected the recipient. The winner was usually announced in February, although the format for the internet vote and the date of the award's announcement varied considerably, with the Winter Meetings in early December being the most recent venue, along with a announcement of the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award given out to print writers, and of persons elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. In 2016, the rules were re-designed, with voters to look at a ballot of eight candidates, with all nominees designated by historians. Similar to the work of the Veterans Committee in recent years, candidates were spread over three eras: Current Major League Markets (to be voted on for induction in 2017); National Voices (in 2018); and Broadcasting Beginnings (in 2019). The cycle would then repeat in following years. This was done to ensure more diversity among honorees, as active broadcasters had a huge advantage under the previous system. Note that the dates in the table below correspond to the year the award was announced; induction normally took place the following summer.
Winners may also be elected to other media Hall of Fames, most notably the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Like its companion the Spink Award, which was renamed in 2021 due to its namesake's less than sterling reputation, there have been calls to re-name the Frick Award, not due to any personal failings of Frick, but because he was not a broadcaster.
|1978||Mel Allen and Red Barber|
|2011||Dave Van Horne|
- Bill Shaikin (Los Angeles Times): "Forget Frick. Time to put Vin Scully's name on this award", Yahoo! News, October 6, 2022.