Van Horne named Frick Award winner

Van Horne named Frick Award winner

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dave Van Horne, the longtime announcer for the Marlins, won the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in Major League Baseball broadcasting, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday.

The 10 finalists were Rene Cardenas, Tom Cheek, Dizzy Dean, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Ned Martin, Tim McCarver, Graham McNamee, Eric Nadel and Van Horne.

The winner was elected by a committee of 20 people that includes 15 Frick Award winners and five historian/columnists. He will receive the award on July 24 during the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.

"It's an overwhelming day," Van Horne told The Fan 590 in Toronto almost immediately after the announcement. "I really did not expect to get the call this year. Needless to say, I was just beside myself with emotion and joy and some tears. It's the highest honor, of course, that a baseball broadcaster can receive and I'm just thrilled."

Van Horne has spent 42 years in broadcasting, the first 32 as the English-speaking voice of the Montreal Expos and the past 10 for the Marlins. In South Florida, Van Horne was the announcer in 2003, when the Marlins defeated the Yankees in six games to win their second World Series.

Van Horne will be on the stage behind the Clark Sports Center along with Pat Gillick, who was elected to the Hall on Monday by the Expansion Era Committee, and Bill Conlin of the Philadelphia Daily News. On Tuesday, Conlin won the annual J.G. Spink Award, which is presented yearly by the Baseball Writers' Association of America "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing."

The trio will be accompanied by any player selected by the BBWAA from its current ballot. That announcement will come on Jan. 5. Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven are the favorites.

Conlin, a longtime Phillies beat writer and columnist, will accept his award on the same day as Gillick, who is still a special assistant to the Phillies and was their general manager in 2008, when they defeated the Rays in the World Series.

"I'm thrilled, I couldn't be happier," Glenn Geffner, Van Horne's most recent broadcast partner, told MLB.com just after the announcement. "I can't think of anyone more deserving than Dave. The scope he's had in two countries, the passion he has for the game day in and day out, he's everything a young broadcaster should want to be."

Jon Miller, the longtime play-by-play man for the Giants, was the 2010 Frick Award winner, and he said this past July 25 during his acceptance speech that all he wanted to do from the moment he attended his first game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco as a 10-year-old was announce baseball.

"I just wanted a job where I could eat French fries while I was working," Miller said, "and here I am today."

Among the 10 Frick finalists, three were elected by fans via a vote this past September. They were Cheek, King and Doucet. McCarver, Nadel and Van Horne were the only active broadcasters on the ballot. Cardenas and Doucet were the other living candidates.

The 15 Frick Award winners on the committee are Miller, Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, the late Dave Niehaus, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolf.

The Hall received a ballot from Niehaus two days before the longtime Mariners play-by-play announcer passed away on Nov. 10, Brad Horn, a spokesman for the Hall, said.

Van Horne was the 35th recipient of the Frick, which is named after Major League Baseball's third Commissioner and was first awarded in 1978 to Mel Allen and Red Barber, the only time there were co-winners.

Van Horne, with his ties to the Expos, joins catcher Gary Carter and outfielder Andre Dawson, who were both inducted as players wearing their Montreal caps. Dawson was inducted this past July 25, along with manager Whitey Herzog and umpire Doug Harvey.

Gillick, of course, was general manager and architect of the Blue Jays clubs that won the 1992-93 World Series. Alomar played second base on both those teams. Should Alomar be elected, the ceremony next year would have a distinct Canadian flavor.

Horne said on Wednesday that he cherishes his time working in Montreal.

"It was 32 years -- over half of my adult life -- in Montreal broadcasting Expos baseball and just an unforgettable, rewarding and great time," he said, reflecting particularly on calling those games during the late 1970s and '80s. "Those were the halcyon days of the Expos -- working alongside the great Duke Snider and broadcasting and televising Expos baseball during their most exciting period of time."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.