Ten of the top "voices" of the game are in competition for the award that this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. The winner will be honored during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony July 27, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America had its say in the election of relief pitcher extraordinaire Rich "Goose" Gossage and that of the late Boston Globe reporter Larry Whiteside with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. The Veterans Committee named to the Hall managers Billy Southworth and Dick Williams and executives Barney Dreyfuss, Bowie Kuhn and Walter O'Malley.
Now is the turn of the 20-member Frick committee to place an announcer into baseball immortality.
Baseball fans already participated in the creation of the 2008 ballot by selecting three of the 10 names on the ballot through an exclusive vote on baseballhalloffame.org and MLB.com throughout November.
Joe Nuxhall, the legendary Cincinnati Reds broadcaster who died that month, received an overwhelming online vote total. More than two-thirds of the voters threw their support for Nuxhall, a fixture with the Reds for 53 years as a pitcher and an announcer.
The late Bill King, who called Oakland Athletics games for 25 years, and Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan of ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" coverage were the other two broadcasters placed on the ballot by online voters. Nuxhall and King were also online voters' choices in 2007.
The other seven candidates were nominated by the 20-member Frick Award Committee and included another Hall of Fame player, pitcher Dizzy Dean, who worked Cardinals and Browns games in St. Louis as well as the national "Game of the Week" in the 1950s and '60s. Tony Kubek, also a former player who did "Game of the Week" telecasts in the 1960s and 70s and later worked in the booth for the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, made the cut as well.
The other nominees are current and former play-by-play voices Tom Cheek (Blue Jays), Ken Coleman (Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox), Dave Niehaus (California Angels, Seattle Mariners) and Dave Van Horne (Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins) and broadcasting legend Graham McNamee (NBC), who called 12 World Series beginning in 1923.
Of the 122,505 fans who participated in the online election, 82,304 (67.2 percent) voted for Nuxhall, who died Nov. 15 from pneumonia at the age of 79. His passing was mourned throughout baseball, especially in Cincinnati.
"This is a sad day for everyone in the Reds organization," said Ken Griffey Jr., who attended the funeral, along with his father Ken Sr. "He did so many great things for so many people. You never heard anyone ever say a bad word about him. We're all going to miss him."
Added Reds owner Bob Castellini, "Joe exemplified everything baseball's all about, from the mound to the broadcast booth."
In the online balloting, King received 7,659 votes and Morgan 6,065.
The Ford C. Frick Award has been presented annually since 1978 at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball." The first winners were Mel Allen and Red Barber.
The award was named after the late broadcaster, National League president, Commissioner and Hall of Famer. Frick was a driving force behind the creation of the Hall of Fame and helped foster the relationship between radio and the game of baseball.
The 2007 recipient was Denny Matthews, who has been in the Kansas City Royals' booth for their entire existence, since entering the American League as an expansion team in 1969.
As a former winner, Matthews is now part of the 20-member electorate along with fellow Frick honorees Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Vin Scully, Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolff, 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 Bart Giamatti Library of the museum.
Jack O'Connell is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.