The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today that Dave Niehaus, the voice of the Seattle Mariners for all 31 seasons of the team’s existence, has been named the 2008 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting. Niehaus will be honored with the award during Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on Sunday, July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Entering the 2008 season, Niehaus has broadcast 4,817 of the 4,899 Mariners games played, missing just 82 contests in the team’s 31-year history. As one of the first two inductees to the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame in 2000, he is also a member of the Puget Sound Sports Hall of Fame. In 2004, Niehaus was named Washington State Broadcaster of the Year by the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, having also earned Sportscaster of the Year honors for Washington in 1995 and 1996 by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
“Dave Niehaus is the heartbeat of Mariners baseball. Since Day One, he has painted a picture of baseball and summer in Seattle better than anyone ever has,” said Dale Petroskey, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “Every Mariners fan knows his style and signature calls such as ‘My, Oh My!’ and ‘It Will Fly Away!’ By virtue of his talent, dedication, and professionalism, he has earned his rightful place among the elite broadcasters in baseball history in receiving the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award. We are looking forward to welcoming Dave and his family in Cooperstown this summer.”
Named one the “Top 10 Most Influential People of the Century” by the Seattle Times, Niehaus threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the inaugural game at Safeco Field on July 15, 1999. Born and raised in Princeton, Ind., and a graduate of Indiana University, Niehaus previously worked for the Armed Forces radio and TV service, calling the action for Dodgers games before moving to New York to handle Yankees baseball, along with basketball and hockey. Following his departure from the Armed Forces Network, Niehaus returned to Los Angeles to broadcast the Dodgers, Rams and Lakers. From 1969-76, he teamed with Dick Enberg and Don Drysdale on California Angels broadcasts, also broadcasting UCLA football and basketball from 1973-76, before moving to Seattle for the inaugural 1977 campaign. Dave and his wife, Marilyn, reside in Bellevue, Washington, and have three children and six grandchildren.
Niehaus will be honored during Hall of Fame Weekend 2008, July 25-28 in Cooperstown, New York, along with 2008 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, the late Larry Whiteside, formerly of the Boston Globe, given annually to a writer for meritorious contributions to baseball. BBWAA Hall of Fame electee Rich “Goose” Gossage and five electees by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee – Barney Dreyfuss, Bowie Kuhn, Walter O’Malley, Billy Southworth and Dick Williams – will be inducted during the July 27 Ceremony. Also as part of Hall of Fame Weekend, the legacy of the late John J. “Buck” O’Neil will be honored with the creation of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award and the dedication of a bronze statue of O’Neil.
The Ford C. Frick Award is voted upon annually and is named in memory of the sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and Baseball commissioner. The complete list of recipients includes:
FORD C. FRICK AWARD RECIPIENTS
|1978 || ||Mel Allen ||1988 || ||Lindsey Nelson ||1999 || ||Arch McDonald |
| || ||Red Barber ||1989 || ||Harry Caray ||2000 || ||Marty Brennaman |
|1979 || ||Bob Elson ||1990 || ||By Saam ||2001 || ||Felo Ramirez |
|1980 || ||Russ Hodges ||1991 || ||Joe Garagiola ||2002 || ||Harry Kalas |
|1981 || ||Ernie Harwell ||1992 || ||Milo Hamilton ||2003 || ||Bob Uecker |
|1982 || ||Vin Scully ||1993 || ||Chuck Thompson ||2004 || ||Lon Simmons |
|1983 || ||Jack Brickhouse ||1994 || ||Bob Murphy ||2005 || ||Jerry Coleman |
|1984 || ||Curt Gowdy ||1995 || ||Bob Wolff ||2006 || ||Gene Elston |
|1985 || ||Buck Canel ||1996 || ||Herb Carneal ||2007 || ||Denny Matthews |
|1986 || ||Bob Prince ||1997 || ||Jimmy Dudley ||2008 || ||Dave Niehaus |
|1987 || ||Jack Buck ||1998 || ||Jaime Jarrin || || || |
Read More for details on the Frick Award
Ten finalists for the 2008 Ford C. Frick Award were selected in December, featuring three fan selections from an online vote conducted at www.baseballhall.org and seven broadcasters chosen by a research committee from the Cooperstown-based museum. The final ballot contained a mix of pioneers and current-day broadcasters, and was voted upon by a 20-member electorate. Complete biographical information on the 10 finalists can be found at www.baseballhall.org. The ten finalists: Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Dizzy Dean, Bill King, Tony Kubek, Graham McNamee, Joe Morgan, Dave Niehaus, Joe Nuxhall and Dave Van Horne. Kubek, Morgan, Niehaus and Van Horne were the living candidates.
In November, Nuxhall (82,304 fan votes), King (7,659 fan votes) and Morgan (6,065 fan votes) finished as the top three vote-getters in the Museum’s online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot. Niehaus was chosen as a fan selection for the final Frick Award ballot in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and has been a finalist on the ballot for each of the last five years.
A 19-member electorate, comprised of the 14 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, 2007 Frick Award winner Denny Matthews, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolff, and, historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of New York Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
Voters were asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. This year’s balloting process marked the fifth time fans had the opportunity to be a part of selecting the final ballot for the award, after changes to the voting process implemented by the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors to the voting process in 2003.
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. More than 195 broadcasters were eligible for consideration for this year’s award, with bios of each candidate appearing at the Web site.