Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, who all of baseball has had a love-hate relationship with for years due to his candor and homerism, was named the 2020 Ford Frick Award winner on Wednesday. The Hawkeroo will be part of the enshrinement festivities in Cooperstown next summer.
The 78-year-old will join J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, the late Nick Cafardo, as 2020 off-field honorees. Presentation of the Spink and Frick awards occurs on July 25, 2020, during Induction Weekend.
For those who never heard Harrelson before the turn of the century, I am so sorry. Because his work with Don Drysdale B.GM (before his GM stint in 1986) and particularly Tom Paciorek after was simply exquisite. Hawk was the perfect blend of cheerleader and critic, with a healthy dose of entertainer (take a looksee at that 10-gallon above, pard) mixed in.
Given the circumstances of the final game at Comiskey Park, this is probably a more sober take on a Hawk and Wimpy broadcast, but still, a fair sampler:
I have Hawk and Drysdale broadcasting Tom Seaver’s 300th win on a VHS tape somewhere. I guess that doesn’t do much good for us right now, though.
This other clip is latter-day Hawk, leading off with WEGNER YOU GOTTA BE BLEEPIN ME and focusing more on the “Harry Caray stage” of Harrelson’s career, but still, some fun stuff.
Harrelson broadcasted for the White Sox (33 years), Red Sox (seven) and Yankees (two) as well as on national broadcasts, over 40 years. He famously touted his eight decades in professional baseball as a player, executive, and broadcaster. Five other White Sox broadcasters have won the Frick Award: Jack Brickhouse (1983), Caray (1989), Bob Elson (1979) and Milo Hamilton (1992).
The White Sox sent out a superb press release on the honor today. Some highlights:
Hawk Harrelson “I am truly humbled to receive the greatest honor for any broadcaster in baseball. I would like to thank the Frick Award committee for selecting me for this tremendous honor. It is very humbling to join the impressive list of past recipients, including all of the voices who educated and entertained generations of Chicago fans over the years. I also want to thank the White Sox organization for allowing me the opportunity to bring the great game of baseball to our fans. In the end, broadcasting has always been about having a conversation with Sox fans, and I need to thank them from the bottom of my heart for allowing me into their homes each night to talk about the team and the sport we all love.”
Jerry Reinsdorf “Hawk is so deserving of this tremendous honor. His passion for baseball is unmatched, and he has entertained generations of White Sox fans with his stories, experiences and insight. He cared passionately about the White Sox and like our fans, took every win and loss to heart. With his nicknames and catchphrases, Hawk changed the way people talk about baseball and even how they describe day-to-day life. Hawk deservedly joins an impressive list of great Chicago baseball announcers who have been honored by the Hall of Fame with the Frick Award.”
Frank Thomas “Today’s Frick Award honor for Hawk is very deserved, and I cannot be happier for him. Hawk ranks among the greatest broadcasters in baseball history, and this award cements his legacy in the game. I will always appreciate Hawk coining ‘The Big Hurt’ nickname because it was a huge part of who I was as a ballplayer. Induction weekend is a special time in Cooperstown, and I’m excited to have a front row seat for his speech.”
Paul Konerko “Hawk truly is a legend. He’s a recognizable figure and has done nothing but good things for the game. Hawk spent a ton of time in the broadcast booth literally changing the vocabulary of the game. His nicknames and catch phrases are still being used by media, players and fans today.”
A.J. Pierzynski “Hawk has made a lasting impact during his eight decades in the game and I can’t think of anyone who is more deserving of this honor. He became synonymous with White Sox baseball, and I was privileged to be part of it during my eight seasons on the South Side. Hawk was like a father to me and guys like Paulie and Buehrle. This is a long overdue honor and a great day for Hawk, his family and everyone associated with White Sox baseball. Put that on the board, yes!”
Steve Stone “Hawk changed the language of the game. He touched many lives and to the White Sox and baseball he was an original unique voice of the game”
Jason Benetti “Forever, Hawk will be with the best of the best in Cooperstown, where he and his creativity and passion belong. He’s touched all of us and changed the way so many speak about the game in Chicago and beyond. He deserves this deeply.”