It was welcome news to hear that Jon Miller is the 2010 Ford Frick Award winner. He'll be presented the award at this year's Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in July.
Many fans mistakenly believe that the Frick Award is equivalent to induction to the Hall of Fame itself. They'll cite it as membership in the "broadcaster's wing" at the Hall of Fame.
I guess if there really was a "broadcaster's wing," I'd likely know about it. I've made the trek to Cooperstown more than 25 times over the years and have done some consulting work for the Hall a few times.
What they do have is a display that pays tribute to the great broadcsters and baseball writers of all-time, located close to the library on the Hall of Fame grounds. There's a full-size diorama of the interior of an old time pressbox, complete with vintage microphones and typewriters. (Ask your grandparents about typewriters.)
The Frick Award is a tremendous honor - certainly the highest achievement for anyone lucky enough to have a career broadcasting baseball. It really doesn't matter that it's not a true induction; the fans believe it is, and that's okay.
Getting back to the honoree for a moment: I've known Jon since he first arrived in Baltimore more than a quarter-century ago. He had some big shoes to fill, coming in after legendary Orioles - and Senators - announcer Chuck Thompson, and made an immediate impact on tne market.
I'll always remember running into Jon at the Cockeysville, MD post office shortly after he arrived in town. He'd just received the 1930 cards for Strat-O-Matic Baseball, the best tabletop baseball game out there. (My apologies if you're an APBA loyalist. I grew up with S-O-M, so for me there's no other.)
We stood inside there for about 30 minutes talking about the 1930 season in the National League. (If that doesn't float your boat, check it out for yourself. The Phillies batted .315 as a team - and finished 50 games under .500 in last place!) Anyway, from that point on, we were fast friends.
DC-area fans certainly know Jon from his days doing the Orioles' games, and prior to that as the radio voice of the Washington Diplomats soccer team, when he, on occasion, would wear the world's worst hairpiece,
There are a lot of deserving candidates for the Frick Award, and some pioneers of the genre who have been passed over for the honor for a long time. But occasions like this are for the living, and Jon's speech will be one for the ages, I'm quite sure.
This year's induction ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, July 25, in Cooperstown.