The Cy Young Award is named for a great pitcher and awarded to great pitchers. The Rookie of the Year Award is named after Jackie Robinson, the first player to win the award. The Hank Aaron Award is given annually to the best offensive player in the league, and Aaron himself was a pretty decent hitter in his day.
The Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually by the Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for “major contributions to baseball,” is named after former National League President and Commissioner of Baseball Ford C. Frick, whose broadcasting career was so short it’s not even mentioned on his Wikipedia page.
So, it’s no surprise that there’s a growing movement to rename the Frick Award after an actual broadcaster, and the 1998 winner of the award, retiring Los Angeles legend Jaime Jarrín, is part of that movement, as Bill Shaikin reports in the Los Angeles Times.
“I think the recognition should be to Vin. … He was the best. He knew baseball very well. He had the talent to paint with words. Nobody else like him. I think most of my colleagues accept that… He was the best of the best. No question about it… I think the consensus right now is that they should change the name of the Ford Frick award to his name. I am 100% in favor of that.”
It’s probably not quite a consensus, and it wouldn’t be as easy as just saying, “Okay, new name.”
Shaikin talked to Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch, who grew up listening to Vin as a Dodger fan in Southern California. The decision to rename the award would not be up to Rawitch, but the Hall’s Board of Directors.
“There are very few people in the history of the game who have had an impact like Vin,” Rawitch said. “You saw the outpouring of support when he passed, because of how much he means to everybody… A number of people throughout the game have suggested we do something in order to honor Vin. I’m sure we’ll talk about that as a board, when the time is right. What’s most important is that we recognize him already, in the broadcasters’ wing of the Hall of Fame, and he is a huge part of our history throughout the museum. We’ll have to look at whether there is anything beyond that.”
As Shaikin notes, Mel Allen and Red Barber were the first two recipients of the Frick Award, and some would call for it to be named after them if Frick’s name were removed.
But Shaikin makes a pretty clear, concise argument: “The game’s greatest broadcasting honor should be renamed in honor of the game’s greatest broadcaster.”
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