Gene Elston, the longtime broadcaster for the Astros, was the 2005 recipient of the award that has been presented annually at the Hall of Fame Induction weekend ceremonies since 1978, when legendary voices Mel Allen and Red Barber were honored. The award was named after the former baseball commissioner and National League president who had been a sportswriter, including one of Babe Ruth's ghost writers, and public relations director for the NL.
The three broadcasters on last year's ballot that were voted on by the fans were Mariners voice Dave Niehaus, Montreal Expos announcer Jacque Doucet and the late Bill King, who spent a quarter of a century calling games for the Oakland Athletics. Other names on the ballot included radio legend Graham McNamee, Royals voice Denny Matthews, the late Tom Cheek (Blue Jays), the late Ken Coleman (Indians, Red Sox) and former players Dizzy Dean and Tony Kubek.
Dean is among many Hall of Fame players who are also candidates for the Ford Frick Award. The large group includes Richie Ashburn, Lou Boudreau, Don Drysdale, Harry Heilman, Waite Hoyt, Al Kaline, George Kell, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Joe Morgan, Jim Palmer, Pee Wee Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Brooks Robinson, Tom Seaver, Duke Snider and Don Sutton.
Others under consideration range from former players Jim Kaat, Ken Harrelson, Ron Fairly, Steve Blass, Tommy Hutton, Mike Shannon, Ron Santo, Bobby Murcer and Rick Monday to play-by-play men John Gordon, George Grande, Chris Wheeler, John Rooney, Juan Alicea, Skip Caray, Joe Castiglione and Lanny Fratare to network personalities Tim McCarver, Dick Enberg, Buck Martinez, Jon Miller and Joe Buck.
The 20-member electorate is comprised of 14 Frick Award recipients and six broadcast historians and columnists: Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Herb Carneal, Jerry Coleman, Joe Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Bob Wolff and Elston, plus Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of New York Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian), Curt Smith (historian) and Larry Stewart (Los Angeles Times).
Frick Award winners, just as J.G. Taylor Spink Award winners for baseball writing, are honored in the "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit between the Hall of Fame gallery and the main library of the museum.