Do you remember those amazing years of Toronto Blue Jays baseball in the early 1990s?
The announcer who called some of the most historic and memorable plays the team ever experienced, the late Tom Cheek, will be honored at Cooperstown (the baseball hall of fame) as the recipient of the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence.
Hear more about this wonderful news for Canadian sports announcers and baseball fans alike in today’s VOX Daily.
A Long Time Coming
The late Tom Cheek (1939-2005), long-time Blue Jays announcer, was welcomed to Cooperstown (Baseball Hall of Fame) as the winner of the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. His wife, Shirley, and their children will accept the award on his behalf.
According to an article penned by Barry M. Bloom of MLB (Major League Baseball), Frick Award voters consider a number of criteria, including longevity, continuity with a club, honors, national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games, and popularity with fans.
To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network or a combination of the two.
In terms of longevity, continuity, and so on, Florida native Tom Cheek was a clear contender and excellent choice to receive the prestigious Frick Award. His first nomination for the award came the year he passed away, 2005, at the age 66 following a second surgery on a brain tumor.
Most Famous Call
The date was October 23rd, 1993. Game six of the 1993 World Series Championship. Joe Carter stepped up to the plate and the crack of his bat meeting the ball was heard around the world, bringing a flock of Blue Jays around the bases, triumphantly reaching home base. The crowd went wild! Carter leaped, kangaroo-like, around the bases, overjoyed.
Tom Cheek was quoted during those moments as saying, “Touch ’em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.”
He was right.
Jerry Howarth was Tom Cheek’s long-time partner in the booth. He summed up the kind of broadcaster Cheek was in an interview with Tim McMaster, saying “…Tom always felt that he was paid to broadcast for the fans and he was the ultimate sophisticated fan. When the Blue Jays were doing well, that excitement was in his voice and when they weren’t doing so well, you could tell how disappointed he was but that’s what the fans wanted. They wanted somebody that they could identify with and that was clearly Tom who everyday came to work and did so for almost 28 straight years.”
Broadcaster and professor of radio broadcasting at Fanshawe College Brian Nuttall recalls a fond memory of Tom Cheek, sharing, “I met Tom up in the broadcast booth at Rogers Centre (Skydome). He was a class act on and off the mic.”
Casting director and producer, Todd Resnick of Resnick Interactive Group, noted of Cheek, “I’ll never forget him screaming when Joe Carter hit the World Series game and series winning home run….that scream is infectious!!”
Cool Tom Cheek Facts
- Called 4,306 consecutive baseball games and 41 postseason games
- Was the voice of the Toronto Blue Jays since their inception (1977) until 2004
- Announced for 27.5 seasons
- Wanted to be a broadcaster since the young age of 7
- Had an “off-the-cuff” announcing approach
- Was the “voice of summer” for Canadians coast to coast to coast
- Fans referred to co-announcers Cheek and Howarth as “The Tom and Jerry Show”
What’s Your Favorite Baseball Moment?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Image via Sportsnet.ca