Although overshadowed for sure by the election this past Sunday of Alan Trammell and Jack Morris to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, today longtime NBC announcer Bob Costas won the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence. The 65-year old Costas, a 28-time Emmy Award Winner, called today one of the happiest in his life and was humbled by the honor.
Because of my love of baseball and because of the other names that (won the Frick Award), this is at the top of the list. No disrespect of all the other awards, because they all mean a lot to me, but this means the most.
— Bob Costas (December 13, 2017, as reported by the Associated Press)
Costas, who has always called baseball his favorite sport, handled the play-by-play announcing duties for 3 World Series and 8 League Championship Series. As it was with Dick Enberg three years ago, the selection of Costas was in many ways a lifetime achievement award for overall broadcasting excellence, not just strictly for the game of baseball. Costas called his first MLB contest for NBC Sports in 1980 and continues to call games for the MLB Network. At NBC in the 1980’s, Costas was the 2nd team baseball announcer, behind Joe Garagiola and later Vin Scully (both Frick Award recipients themselves). In the meantime, his career at NBC allowed him to call NFL games, host Super Bowl pregame shows, call the NBA finals, be the prime-time host of multiple Olympics, along with a multitude of other assignments.
This year’s Frick Award ballot was designed for announcers whose primary contributions were for national games, not local telecasts or radio broadcasts. In winning the award, Costas beat out Al Michaels, Joe Buck, Joe Morgan, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese and Buddy Blattner. Four of those other seven, of course, are already in the Hall of Fame as players. Buck, who has had the good fortune of Fox Sports’ long-standing contract with MLB as the primary over-the-air broadcaster, has called a record 20 Fall Classics on television, more than anyone.
In selecting Costas over Buck, the committee voting on the reward decided not to recognize merely the good fortune of working for the right network but for a lifelong passion for the game. Buck, whose father Jack Buck is also an announcing legend and Frick Award winner, is only 48 years old and will undoubtedly get the call for the Hall in the future.
Costas, now in semi-retirement from NBC Sports, is notably keeping up his role with the MLB Network because the game on the diamond is his greatest love. Over the decades, he’s become someone whose opinion on any topic relating to the sport has been one of the most sought out. Costas was asked today by MLB Network’s Brian Kenny whether, if he had taken a different career path, how he would have felt if he had been a single team’s long-time announcer rather than a star on network TV covering multiple sports. Costas, without hesitation, said he would have been a “very happy man.”
For Costas, covering the game of baseball has always been a labor of love, of joy, and of reverence for the game’s history. He is unquestionably a deserving choice for the Frick Award, even as he remains humble for his place in the sport’s long history of legendary broadcasters.
Even if you’re coming off the bench, you’re on the same team as Jack Buck, Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, Red Barber, Harry Caray and Mel Allen.
— Bob Costas
Bob Costas, congratulations for joining that illustrious team and earning the greatest honor any baseball announcer can ever receive.
Thanks for reading.