Cheek Loses Out to Kubek in Frick Award
Former Jays TV analyst and Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek has been named the 2008 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in baseball.
He was chosen from among 10 candidates that included three others with strong Canadian broadcasting ties -- Jays' original radio voice, the late Tom Cheek; former Expos radio and TV voice, Dave Van Horne, now with the Marlins and longtime French-language voice of the Expos, Jacques Doucet.
That means 40-percent of the final ballot had strong Canadian connections. That's fabulous. A large part of the support for Cheek and Doucet came from online voting by the fans. That must continue if Cheek is to have another chance. Fans cannot give up the quest because of this setback. It was Kubek's fifth appearance on the ballot. Cheek should be a winner for everything he has done with the Jays, including the amazing streak of consecutive games broadcast that ended with his dad's death and then with his own illness.
However, time is his enemy. He needs to win in the next two years or the voters -- a distinguished panel comprised of all the living Frick Award winners, plus five respected baseball historians, will begin to forget his accomplishments and his impact on Canadian baseball as they slip into the mists of time and move on. It's a struggle. Canadian baseball and its fan base are forever misunderstood and underappreciated. Just check out this one sentence from the release partly explaining Kubek's win: "...introducing one of North America's largest cities to the game of baseball." That is ridiculous and gratuitous considering the long history of pro baseball in Toronto and in Canada. Good luck next year Tom and, fans, keep up the strong online support.