Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kubek HOF-Bound

Congratulations to Tony Kubek, 2009's recipient of the annual Ford C. Frick Award, which is given to honor broadcasters for major contributions to the sport of baseball.

When I was a kid, the former New York Yankees shortstop was teamed with another former major leaguer, Joe Garagiola, to broadcast NBC's Saturday GAME OF THE WEEK. I admired Kubek then for his enthusiasm, candor, and baseball smarts. Later, Vin Scully joined the NBC team and was paired with Garagiola, while Kubek and new partner Bob Costas handled the week's backup game. One of those Kubek/Costas games was the legendary "Sandberg Game," in which Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs hit a home run to tie the game in the ninth inning and another home run to tie it again in the tenth inning in a remarkable 12-11 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

To this day, Kubek remains my favorite baseball color man, even though he hasn't worked a network game since 1989. At a time when network baseball telecasts have never been lousier (although we did get some good news today), it's worth remembering Kubek even more. Past winners of the Frick award include Scully, Garagiola, Mel Allen, Jack Buck, Harry Caray and Marty Brennaman.

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