Frick Award finalists named

Frick Award finalists named

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Dave Niehaus and Joe Nuxhall head a list of 10 finalists eligible to win the 2007 Ford C. Frick Award, an honor bestowed on broadcasters by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The winner will be announced this coming Feb. 22 and be honored at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 29, the day first-time player nominees Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn are expected to be inducted.

Niehaus has broadcast games for 37 years, including the past 30 with the Mariners, joining them when Major League Baseball expanded into Seattle for the second time, in 1977. Nuxhall, who pitched 16 years in the big leagues -- almost exclusively with Cincinnati -- was a longtime member of the Reds' broadcasting team.

Bill King and Tom Cheek, who both passed away last year, also made the list of esteemed finalists.

King, a San Francisco Bay Area institution, was the voice of the Oakland A's as well as at one time the National Baseball Association Warriors and National Football League Raiders. Cheek was a Canadian treasure, long identified in his career with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The other six nominees are also familiar names, with distinctive play-calling styles that contribute to the fabric of the game: Dizzy Dean, Graham McNamee, France Laux, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews and Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson.

Fans had the opportunity to partake in the final ballot selection process, electing three of the final 10 candidates in online balloting at MLB.com and baseballhallofame.org through November. The top three vote-getters in the fan balloting were King, Nuxhall and Harrelson.

The Frick Committee voting panel, which includes the 14 living Frick Award recipients and six broadcast historians or columnists, cast their votes by paper ballot in January. Usually, one announcer wins the award each year.

Former Astros broadcaster Gene Elston was honored with the Frick Award in 2006 and made his acceptance speech on July 28, the day Bruce Sutter and 17 Negro League or pre-Negro League players and founders were inducted into the Hall.

Concurrently, eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America have received the 2007 players' ballot, which includes 32 players -- 17 of them first-timers. Voters will spend December choosing next year's inductees, who will be announced on Jan. 9.

The 14 living Frick Award winners include such notables as Elston, Bob Uecker, Marty Brenneman, Lon Simmons, Herb Carneal, Jerry Coleman, Joe Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, and Bob Wolff.

To be considered for the Frick Award, an active or retired broadcaster must have at least 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network, or a combination of the two.

Voters base their selections on an announcer's longevity, popularity and continuity with a club, as well as honors such as national assignments, including the World Series and All-Star Game.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.