5 12 2012

Great news in the baseball world. The late Tom Cheek, who had been the primary play-by-play voice for the Toronto Blue Jays, calling a total of 4,306 consecutive Jays games before cancer prematurely took him from us, has been named the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award recipient by the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown today.

This award has been a very long time coming. Including this year, he’d been nominated for the Frick Award for nine consecutive years. But the campaigning to have him honoured is now done, successfully.

The Ford C. Frick Award recognizes one’s contribution to baseball broadcasting, and Tom was one of the best, being with the Jays from their opening day in 1977.

Congratulations, Tom!


Cooperstown will have a Canadian feel this year…

5 01 2011

Earlier today, the player inductees for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, were announced. And two players, who both barely missed being elected in 2010, got the nod this year.

Bert Blyleven, who pitched in the Major Leagues for over two decades, winning two World Series during that time, has been elected, after earning 79.7% of the votes (75% or better is needed to be elected).

And former Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar picked up a whopping 90.0% of the votes this year to be elected to Cooperstown. Alomar spent 17 seasons in the majors, with a career batting average of .300, was an All-Star in 12 of those 17 seasons, and was instrumental in the Blue Jays’ two World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.

Alomar joins two other baseball icons from Canada in the Hall of Fame this year.

Pat Gillick was chosen by the Veteran’s Committee. Gillick joined the Jays’ front office for the club’s first year in 1977 and, as their General Manager, guided them through the World Series years. In his final year as a baseball GM in 2008, he won his third World Series, at the helm of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Dave Van Horne is the 2011 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions in baseball broadcasting. Van Horne spent 32 seasons broadcasting for the Montreal Expos, and is now the radio voice of the Florida Marlins.

The award ceremony at the Baseball Hall of Fame will be July 24 in Cooperstown, NY.

Congratulations to all!

UPDATE (January 6): It was just announced that for the first time in team history, a Blue Jays cap will be worn by a Hall of Famer in Cooperstown. Newly-elected former Jay Roberto Alomar’s Hall of Fame plaque will show him wearing a Jays cap. Excellent!

Congratulations Pat Gillick!

6 12 2010

Earlier today, it was announced that Pat Gillick, former GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, and one of the architects behind the Blue Jays’ World Series years in 1992 and 1993, has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2011.

In addition to his years with the Blue Jays, Gillick also was involved in building the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies into contenders, and won a third World Series title in 2008 with the Phillies. In all, Gillick has spent nearly 50 years in baseball, 27 of them as a big league general manager.

Congratulations, Pat Gillick! A very deserving honour!

2011 could be a huge year for baseball in Canada. Gillick is in the Hall of Fame. Former Blue Jays 2B Roberto Alomar is expected to be chosen in January. Plus, two other awards handed out by the Hall of Fame will have their winners announced very soon, each with a notable Canadian as a potential honouree.

Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun is in the running for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which recognizes contributions to baseball writing. And the original play-by-play broadcaster for the Blue Jays, the late Tom Cheek, who has been nominated for the award for each of the past 7 years, is again being considered for the Ford C. Frick award, for excellence in baseball broadcasting.

I’ll announce the winners of those awards very soon.

Future Hall Of Famer still thinks of Toronto as second home…

28 01 2010

Today’s Globe and Mail has a neat article (which you can see here) about former Toronto Blue Jay and future baseball Hall Of Famer Roberto Alomar.

It describes Alomar’s feelings about leaving Toronto – the city he describes as his second home – and how he gave the Blue Jays every opportunity to hang on to him by matching the offer made to him by the Baltimore Orioles. Unfortunately, the Jays, who were in a definite rebuilding mode, declined, and Alomar became an Oriole.

It is well known how Alomar just missed being elected to Cooperstown this year, his first year of eligibility. And in the article is a comment on how an incident between Alomar and umpire John Hirschbeck – an incident for which Hirschbeck has since forgiven Alomar and the two, in fact, have become friends – is the reason some of those responsible for electing players to the Hall Of Fame chose not to vote for Alomar this year.

Alomar is one of the best second basemen that the game of baseball has ever seen, and he deserved to be elected this year. It is a shame that an incident that the participants themselves have put behind them still became a factor in Alomar not getting into the Hall Of Fame this year.

But there is good news regarding Alomar in this piece. It mentions the upcoming induction of Alomar to the Canadian Baseball Hall Of Fame. That induction ceremony is in June.

Also, there are indications that Roberto may be rejoining the Blue Jays fraternity very soon. According to general manager Alex Anthopolous, Alomar is on a list of guest coaches who could be working with the Jays at spring training in February.

It would be really cool if Alomar, who’s expressed an interest in re-entering the game as an instructor, were to do so within the Blue Jays organization. The players in the organization would stand to learn a lot from one of the best in the game.

And fear not – it is, the article says, a “virtual lock” that Roberto Alomar will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 2011.