Staats a finalist for 2017 Frick Award

Winner will be honored during Hall of Fame weekend

Staats a finalist for 2017 Frick Award

ST. PETERSBURG -- Dewayne Staats has been nominated for the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The longtime Rays announcer is one of eight finalist, a distinguished list that includes: Gary Cohen, Jacques Doucet, Ken Harrelson, Pat Hughes, Bill King, Mike Krukow and Ned Martin.

The winner of the award will be announced on Dec. 7 at the Baseball Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Md., and will be honored during the July 29 Awards Presentation as part of the July 28-31 Hall of Fame Weekend 2017 in Cooperstown, N.Y. All candidates except King and Martin are living.

Staats, who has been the voice of the Rays since the team's inaugural season in 1998, began his Major League play-by-play career as the radio and TV voice of the Astros from 1977-84, then called radio and TV action for the Cubs from 1985-89. He was the lead play-by-play announcer for the Yankees and also spent the 1994-95 seasons calling action for The Baseball Network (ABC/NBC).

Staats began his career as a sports reporter for WSIE Radio while he was a student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and began his baseball career as the radio voice of the Oklahoma City 89ers (1973-74).

The 2017 Frick Award ballot reflects the changes made in July by the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors to the annual Frick Award process. A new election cycle for the Frick Award was established, rotating annually between Current Major League Markets (team-specific announcers) for the 2017 Frick Award; National Voices (broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level) for the 2018 Frick Award; and Broadcasting Beginnings (early team voices and pioneers of baseball broadcasting) for the 2019 Frick Award. This cycle will repeat every three years.

As established by the Board of Directors, new criteria for selection is as follows: "Commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers."

Final voting for the 2017 Frick Award will be conducted by an electorate comprised of the 13 living Frick Award recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists, including past Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Dick Enberg, Jaime Jarrín, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Felo Ramírez, Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff, and historians/columnists David J. Halberstam (historian), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).

The 2017 Frick Award ballot was created by a subcommittee of the voting electorate that included Enberg, McCarver, Nadel, Smith and Wolff.

To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network, or a combination of the two. More than 200 broadcasters were eligible for consideration for the 2017 Frick Award based on these qualifications.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.