Nuxhall leads list of Frick finalists
Former Reds announcer among 10 candidates for award
Baseball fans let their feelings be known about Joe Nuxhall, the legendary Cincinnati Reds broadcaster who died last month, by placing him on the Ford C. Frick Award ballot with an overwhelming online vote total.
More than two-thirds of the voters threw their support behind Nuxhall, a fixture with the Reds for 63 years as a pitcher and an announcer.
The Hall of Fame announced Tuesday the 10 candidates for the 2008 Frick Award, a process during which fans helped shape the ballot by selecting three of the 10 people through an exclusive vote on baseballhalloffame.org and MLB.com.
The late Bill King, who called Oakland Athletics games for 25 years, and Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball coverage were the other two broadcasters placed on the ballot by online voters. Nuxhall and King also were online voters' choices in 2007.
The other seven candidates were nominated by the 20-member Frick Award Committee, and they included another Hall of Fame player, pitcher Dizzy Dean, who worked Cardinals and Browns games in St. Louis as well as the national Game of the Week in the 1950s and '60s. Tony Kubek, also a former player who did Game of the Week telecasts in the 1960s and '70s and later worked in the booth for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, made the cut as well.
The other nominees are former play-by-play voices Tom Cheek (Blue Jays), Ken Coleman (Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox), Dave Niehaus (California Angels, Seattle Mariners) and Dave Van Horne (Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins) and broadcasting legend Graham McNamee (NBC), who called 12 World Series, beginning in 1923.
Results of the Frick Award Committee's selection will be announced Feb. 19, with the winner to be honored at the 2008 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on July 27 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Of the 122,505 fans who participated in the online election, 82,304 (67.2 percent) voted for Nuxhall, who died Nov. 15 from pneumonia at the age of 79. His passing was mourned throughout baseball, especially in Cincinnati.
"This is a sad day for everyone in the Reds organization," said Ken Griffey Jr., who attended the funeral, along with his father, Ken Sr. "He did so many great things for so many people. You never heard anyone ever say a bad word about him. We're all going to miss him."
Added Reds owner Bob Castellini, "Joe exemplified everything baseball's all about, from the mound to the broadcast booth."
In the online balloting, King received 7,659 votes and Morgan got 6,065.
The Ford C. Frick Award has been presented annually since 1978 at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball." The first winners were Mel Allen and Red Barber.
The award was named after the late broadcaster, National League President, Commissioner and Hall of Famer. Frick was a driving force behind the creation of the Hall of Fame and helped foster the relationship between radio and the game of baseball.
The 2007 recipient was Denny Matthews, who has been in the Kansas City Royals' booth for their entire existence, since entering the American League as an expansion team in 1969.
As a former winner, Matthews now is part of the 20-member electorate along with fellow Frick honorees Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Vin Scully, Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolff, plus Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of New York Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian), Curt Smith (historian) and Larry Stewart (Los Angeles Times).
Frick Award winners, just as J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners for baseball writing, are honored in the "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit between the Hall of Fame gallery and the Bart Giamatti Library of the Museum.
Jack O'Connell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.