If this honor had come to Jon Miller ten years ago, I would have wholeheartedly supported it, but it appears to me that Jon has had some slippage. Maybe it’s due to carrying Joe Morgan for so long or I’m not appreciating his work as much, but I think this is a rather strange time to put Jon Miller in the broadcaster’s wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Jon has worked in Oakland, Texas, Boston, Baltimore and San Francisco. In addition to calling baseball, he’s called college basketball and you’re probably not aware that he called the North American Soccer League in the late 1970′s for TVS, a major sports syndicator back then. He called the Red Sox starting in 1980 and stayed until 1982 when he moved to Baltimore and got national notoriety. His first year with the Orioles was in 1983 and he got to call the O’s World Championship team right off the bat.
Some of his best radio, however, was not calling home runs or World Championships, but during rain delays when he would imitate Vin Scully, Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard, Red Sox public address announcer Sherm Feller or Oakland A’s owner Charlie O. Finley. And Jon could also tell stories with the best of them. He made fans actually hope for rain delays in Boston and Baltimore so they could be entertained.
In 1990, Jon became the number one announcer for ESPN when it bought the rights to air baseball for the first time. And he’s remained at the helm of Sunday Night Baseball ever since. In 1999 when ESPN Radio got the rights for the postseason, Jon started calling the World Series and has not missed a Fall Classic.
Here’s the press release from the Baseball Hall of Fame.
JON MILLER NAMED WINNER OF 2010 FORD C. FRICK BROADCASTING AWARD
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced today that Jon Miller, who has spent parts of four decades as the voice of five Major League Baseball teams and has been the voice of ESPN’s national Sunday Night Baseball telecasts for 20 years, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting. Miller will be honored during Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies on Sunday, July 25, 2010 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Jon Miller is the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award winner.Miller has gained accolades for his attention to detail and his intellect. Miller has called Major League Baseball games for the A’s, Rangers, Red Sox, Orioles and his current team – the Giants – in addition to his work with ESPN.
“Jon Miller is one of baseball’s most recognizable voices and is extremely deserving of this prestigious honor,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “With a national audience on Sunday nights for the last 20 years, an entire country has been able to enjoy on a weekly basis what fans in San Francisco, Baltimore, Boston, Texas and Oakland have known with Miller as their home team’s broadcaster for varied points over the last four decades. His soothing play-by-play, his affable and welcoming personality and his relaxed nature on-air give every baseball fan a personal invitation to enjoy the game, as if each were sitting in the front row.”
Miller was born Oct. 11, 1951, in San Francisco, and began his broadcasting career in Santa Rosa, Calif. In 1974, Miller landed a job as the play-by-play man for the Oakland A’s. During the 1970s, Miller held various broadcasting jobs in the Bay Area – ranging from hockey to soccer to basketball – before returning to Major League Baseball with the Texas Rangers’ radio crew in 1978. Miller moved to Boston in 1980 to take the Red Sox’s radio job, then went to Baltimore in 1983 to handle the Orioles’ radio duties. In Baltimore, he called the last out of the 1983 World Series as the Orioles captured their third Fall Classic title.
During his time with the Orioles, Miller worked on NBC-TV’s Game of the Week with Frick Award winners Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek from 1986-89, then became ESPN’s voice of Sunday Night Baseball in 1990. In 1997, Miller returned home to become the “Voice of the Giants” – a position which he holds today.
Miller has broadcast 13 World Series, including the last 12 on ESPN Radio.
Miller will be honored as an award recipient during Hall of Fame Weekend 2010, July 23-26 in Cooperstown, N.Y, along with 2010 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Bill Madden. The Spink Award honors excellence in baseball writing.
Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame electee Andre Dawson will be inducted into the Hall of Fame that weekend along with Veterans Committee electees Doug Harvey and Whitey Herzog.
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:
1978 Mel Allen 1989 Harry Caray 2001 Felo Ramirez Red Barber 1990 By Saam 2002 Harry Kalas 1979 Bob Elson 1991 Joe Garagiola 2003 Bob Uecker 1980 Russ Hodges 1992 Milo Hamilton 2004 Lon Simmons 1981 Ernie Harwell 1993 Chuck Thompson 2005 Jerry Coleman 1982 Vin Scully 1994 Bob Murphy 2006 Gene Elston 1983 Jack Brickhouse 1995 Bob Wolff 2007 Denny Matthews 1984 Curt Gowdy 1996 Herb Carneal 2008 Dave Niehaus 1985 Buck Canel 1997 Jimmy Dudley 2009 Tony Kubek 1986 Bob Prince 1998 Jamie Jarrin 2010 Jon Miller 1987 Jack Buck 1999 Arch McDonald 1988 Lindsey Nelson 2000 Marty Brennaman
Ten finalists for the 2010 Ford C. Frick Award were selected in January, featuring three fan selections from an online vote conducted at the Hall of Fame’s Facebook site, www.facebook.com/baseballhall. The seven other finalists were 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 10 finalists: Billy Berroa, Skip Caray, Tom Cheek, Jacques Doucet, Lanny Frattare, Graham McNamee, Miller, Joe Nuxhall, Herb Score and Dave Van Horne. Doucet, Frattare, Miller and Van Horne were the living candidates.
In December, Cheek (5,930 fan votes), Doucet (5,183 fan votes) and Nuxhall (1,363 fan votes) finished as the top three vote-getters in the Museum’s online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot.
The 20-member electorate, comprised of the 15 living Frick Award recipients and five broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Milo Hamilton, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Dave Niehaus, 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 seventh 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 200 broadcasters were eligible for consideration for this year’s award, with bios of each candidate appearing at the Web site.
Congratulations to Jon on the honor.