Results will be announced Feb. 22
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean, whose transition from the playing field to the radio booth helped popularize baseball broadcasting, is among 10 finalists for the 2005 Ford C. Frick Award, the Hall of Fame announced Monday.
The other nine candidates are Tom Cheek, Jerry Coleman, Ken Coleman, Gene Elston, Tony Kubek, France Laux, Graham McNamee, Dave Niehaus and Ron Santo.
Cheek, Jerry Coleman, Niehaus and Santo are active broadcasters.
Dean, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953, starred on the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. A broken toe suffered in the 1937 All-Star Game cut short his career and Dean, renowned for his homespun humor, turned to broadcasting in 1950, becoming the most recognizable player at the time to make the switch.
Dean, who died in 1974, was a fixture from 1954-65 on the CBS Game of the Week.
"What made Dean important in the landscape of broadcasting was the national prominence he brought to the game of the week," said Jeff Idelson, vice president of education and communication at the Hall of Fame. "He certainly helped to expand the reach of baseball and its popularity, but all 10 nominees are certainly worthy."
Niehaus, Cheek and Santo were chosen by fans in an online vote conducted in November. The remaining seven broadcasters were chosen by a research committee from the Hall of Fame.
The resumes -- Cheek has spent 31 major-league seasons covering the Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays, the last 28 seasons as the Jays' radio play-by-play man; Jerry Coleman has spent 41 seasons in baseball broadcasting, including 32 with the San Diego Padres, and also covered the Yankees and Angels; Ken Coleman spent 35 seasons with the Indians, Reds and Red Sox; and Elston spent 43 seasons broadcasting the Cubs and Astros, Mutual Game of the Day, NBC Game of the Week and CBS Game of the Week.
Kubek spent 30 seasons behind the mike for the Blue Jays and Yankees as a color commentator after his playing career; Laux broadcast the St. Louis Browns and Cardinals for 18 seasons, pioneering baseball broadcasting in St. Louis while also calling games for CBS and Mutual Game of the Day; McNamee was a national pioneer in sports broadcasting, calling games for 13 seasons for Westinghouse and NBC and also calling the first 12 World Series; and Niehaus has broadcast games for 36 years, including the last 28 with the Seattle Mariners since the club's inception in 1977.
Santo, meanwhile, has called Cubs games for 15 years for WGN radio as a color commentator following his playing career with the team.
The 20 voters on the Frick Committee will cast their votes by mail in January. Results will be announced Feb. 22, and the winner will receive his plaque Aug. 1 on Hall of Fame weekend.
To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major-league broadcast service with a ballclub or network, or a combination of the two.
The award is named in memory of Hall of Famer Ford C. Frick, who was a sportswriter, radio broadcaster and National League president before becoming baseball commissioner from 1951-65.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press