Tim McCarver, a network analyst at Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC for three decades while being part of a local broadcast on four teams, was announced today as the 2012 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, given each year for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
McCarver will be honored during Hall of Fame weekend on July 20-23 in Cooperstown.
“Tim McCarver has been the face and voice of baseball’s biggest moments on national television,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. “His wit and intuition, combined with his passion for the game and his down-home style, delivers a trusted insight for viewers. Tim’s journey in reaching baseball broadcasting’s highest honor has connected generations of New York Mets fans as well as audiences across the country for more than 30 years.”
Say what you will about McCarver, but he’s Hall of Fame broadcast material and continues to stay contemporary at a time when other younger analysts on network broadcasts may be gunning for his spot. His longevity, concern about current issues in the sport and easy-going demeanor have always been on his side for this eventual honor.
“You know I found early on this side of my life when I retired as player that the most important part of my job was to get things right when talking about the game. And it seems like I’m still trying to get things right,” McCarver said in a conference call this morning.
“One of the harder things about the business of television is staying contemporary. And staying contemporary and yet to continue to try to make things as simple as you can for the viewer to understand. And that’s one of the tricks of our business I guess, if not trick, one of the things that makes our business more difficult I think, with the passing years.”
McCarver says criticism of his work has never bothered him, because “whenever you’re a network broadcaster and you’re doing games where you cite an opinion, there are going to be people who don’t agree with you. And that obviously has changed now from things in the computer age. That’s what makes it different broadcasting now as opposed to 32 years ago when I started.”
Said MLB Network analyst Ken Rosenthal, the Fox sideline reporter who has worked with McCarver for several years, during an interview on MLB.com: “I know Tim has his fans, and people who don’t like him, but if people could see every week the energy and passion and commitment he brings to his job, it’s incredible. If people were paying attention instead of getting annoyed by the little things that bothers fans all the time, they’d notice he’s on stuff during the game like no one else.
“We’ve talked about his ability to first guess. Anyone can second guess. He can see things before they develop. The great managers do that. Not many broadcasters do it. I can remember times in World Series and regular-season games where he’s ahead of the action. That is what he brings and his intellectual curiosity. A lot of times people are set in their ways, but he’s always looking for new insights and I just admire him so much for that.”
Fox Sports vice chairman and longtime executive producer Ed Goren added: “Over the last 30 years, Tim McCarver has not only been the game’s premier analyst, but he’s also set a standard for all the analysts who have followed. I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Tim since 1990 and could not be more proud and excited for him to receive this much deserved and prestigious honor.”
As a player, McCarver’s career spanned three decades (’60s, ’70s and ’80s), a two-time All-Star catcher who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win the 1964 World Series. After his retirement, he started doing games for the Phillies games, then the Mets before also working for the Giants and Yankees.
He started on NBC’s Game of the Week before moving to ABC’s baseball coverage from 1984-89. When CBS took over the World Series package in 1990, McCarver teamed with Jack Buck - the 1987 Frick Award winner – and later Sean McDonough from 1990-93. He was with the Baseball Network from 1994-95, before joining Fox in 1996, teamming with Joe Buck.
McCarver was chosen from a list of 10 finalists selected in October, featuring three fan selections from an online vote and seven broadcasters chosen by a research committee from the Cooperstown-based museum. The final ballot contained included Skip Caray, Rene Cardenas, Tom Cheek, Ken Coleman, Jacques Doucet, Bill King, Graham McNamee, Eric Nadel and Mike Shannon. The 20-member electorate includes broadcasters Vin Scully, Jaime Jarrin, Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Jon Miller, Felo Ramirez, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff, plus Bob Costas, historians Ted Patterson and Curt Smith, and Dallas Morning News writer Barry Horn.
McCarver will be the second analyst going into the broadcaster’s wing, following Kubek.
On Tuesday, Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott was named as the winner of J.G. Taylor Spink Award and will be inducted into the writer’s wing of the Hall. He is the first Canadian honored by the Baseball Writers Association of Amerca.
“I’ve never seen anyone with more passion for the sport and his profession than Bob,” said Pat Gillick, former general manager of the Blue Jays, told Barry Bloom of MLB.com (linked here).
Elliott covered the Montreal Expos for the Ottawa Citizen from 1979-86. He has covered baseball for the Sun since 1987.
Elliott thanked members of the BBWAA and told MLB.com that he “thought of my father after I got the call … Then I thought of other baseball writers who have passed away — Terry Johnson in Los Angeles, Vern Plagenhoef in Detroit, Neil Hohlfeld in Houston — all good guys who are gone. I couldn’t carry their typewriters.”