Making It Right

13 Dec

Almost every Hall Of Fame is somewhat controversial.

There are always lists of people who some think should be enshrined, but somehow never make it.

The baseball veteran’s committee wrestles with this question every year.

Take Ron Santo former third baseman for the Cubs.  He put up great numbers, and had great years but is still waiting for the call.

The knock on Santo is likely to be more about the bad Cub teams he played on on, than about his own statistics as a player.

The Baseball Hall Of Fame selects a broadcaster for the Frick Award each year.  Tony Kubek former Yankee, Blue Jays and NBC announcer was selected this year.

Kubek certainly deserves the honor.  He was the premier color man of his era.  In some ways you can say he was the model for the role of today’s color commentators.

He is also the first broadcaster to enter the Hall whose broadcasting career was spent entirely in television.

The writers who vote know Kubek’s work first hand.   They saw the games he covered on television.   They heard his observations.

Baseball has  overlooked perhaps the most important broadcasting pioneer of all for the Frick Award.

Graham McNamee was the first real baseball play by play announcer.

McNamee’s career started by accident when as a whim he stopped into New York’s WEAF and auditioned  for an announcing job.   He was hired on the spot.

This was 1923  there were no rules for announcers and no one to copy.  All who performed on radio were originals.

McNamee broadcast everything from opera, to boxing and baseball.

Dick Enberg called McNamee “the father of us all” referring to his importance in broadcasting sports.

He covered the national political conventions and announced for entertainment shows.

McNamee was the all around utility man and the biggest name announcer of the era.

He was a star.

McNamee broadcast 12 World Series beginning in 1926.

It was McNamee who set the example for broadcasting baseball and other sports.  He was ‘the guy’ during radio’s formative years.

Graham McNamee should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  But he missed again this year.

Perhaps it’s because his success occurred long before most who vote for the Frick Award were born.  None heard his work first hand.

My guess is that compared with today’s baseball broadcasting his work might not sound so slick.  How could a guy without the polish of a modern announcer be any good?

Graham McNamee lead the way so all the others could make their own mark on radio broadcasting.

There are others also deserving of a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Dizzy Dean and Joe Nuxhall come to mind.

Graham McNamee should have been the first to be awarded the honor.

It’s never too late to right a wrong.

Hopefully someone on the Veteran’s Committee will take a long hard look at who’s missing from the Hall.

Just a suggestion…

Perhaps all of  the Frick Award winners should be showcasted in “The Graham McNamee Room” just across from the giftshop on the second floor in Cooperstown.


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