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Veteran broadcaster Al Michaels, who served as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants before becoming one of the country’s most recognizable network television play-by-play announcers, has been named the 2021 recipient of the annual Ford Frick Award for baseball broadcasting.
Michaels was selected from among eight finalists for the annual award, which is presented by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Michaels may be better known for his long-running prime-time role announcing NFL games or for his iconic call of the U.S. hockey team’s “Miracle on Ice” in the 1980 Winter Olympics, but he got his start as a baseball play-by-play announcer calling games for the Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League in 1968.
From there, Michaels became the lead announcer for the Reds in 1971 before moving on to the Giants in 1974.
He joined ABC Sports two years later, becoming the play-by-play voice of “Monday Night Baseball” on the network’s featured broadcast team. Perhaps his most memorable moment in baseball came when an earthquake struck San Francisco just before the start of Game 3 in the 1989 World Series.
As the broadcast regained audio from Candlestick Park, Michaels composed himself enough to address the nation with the memorable line: “I don’t know if we’re on the air or not — and I’m not sure I care at this particular moment. But we are. Well folks, that’s the greatest open in the history of television. Bar none.”
With the game (and the series) postponed, Michaels used his knowledge of the Bay Area to help cover the earthquake as a news story, later winning an Emmy Award for his efforts — one of eight Emmys in his career.
Michaels will receive the Frick Award as part of the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2021.
Michaels was selected from a ballot of eight finalists whose main contributions were as national announcers. The other finalists were: Buddy Blattner, Joe Buck, Dave Campbell, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, Ernesto Jerez and Dan Shulman.
He is the 45th recipient of the award, a group that also includes legendary broadcasters Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Bob Uecker, Dick Enberg, Bob Costas and last year’s winner, Ken Harrelson.
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