Former Philadelphia Daily News baseball writer and columnist Paul Hagen and longtime Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Hagen was named the winner of the 2013 J.G. Taylor Spink Award while Cheek, who died in 2005, was named the winner of the 2013 Ford C. Frick Award. The announcements were made at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn., this week.
Hagen, who for the last three years has worked for MLB.com., covered the Phillies for the Daily News for 15 years before becoming a columnist. He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s induction weekend July 26-29 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Cheek will also be honored that weekend.
According to the BBWAA, Hagen received 269 votes from the 421 ballots, including five blanks, cast by BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years’ service in becoming the 64th winner of the award since its inception in 1962 and named for the first recipient. Spink was a driving force of The Sporting News, known during his lifetime as the “Baseball Bible.”
Jim Hawkins, whose coverage of the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball extended over four decades, received 87 votes. Russell Schneider, a fixture of baseball coverage in Cleveland for half a century and the author of 13 books on the game, got 60.
Phillies CEO and president David Montgomery said in a statement, ”The Phillies are delighted to learn that Paul Hagen is the 2013 J. G. Taylor Spink Award recipient. He is most deserving of this prestigious award. Paul has a tremendous affinity and respect for the game of baseball. His incredible work ethic and consistently enjoyable writing style have served our game and its fans very well. We heartily congratulate Paul on his well deserved selection and look forward to his induction in Cooperstown next July.”
Tom Cheek called the first 4,306 regular-season and 41 postseason games in Toronto Blue Jays history “and helped ignite a love affair between a Canadian city and America’s National Pastime,” according toe a Baseball Hall of Fame press release. The Ford C. Frick Award is presented annually “for excellence in broadcasting.”
Cheek 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.
Cheek passed away on Oct. 9, 2005. He becomes the second Frick Award winner whose career came primarily with a Canadian team, following Dave Van Horne’s selection as the Frick Award winner in 2011. Van Horne spent parts of four decades broadcasting Montreal Expos games.
“Tom Cheek was the voice of summer for generations of baseball fans in Canada and beyond,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson in the press release. “He helped a nation understand the elements of the game and swoon for the summer excitement that the expansion franchise brought a hockey-crazed nation starting in the late 1970s. He then authored the vocal narrative of a team that evolved into one of the most consistent clubs of the 1980s and 1990s. We are thrilled to celebrate Tom’s legacy with baseball broadcasting’s highest honor.”
Cheek’s call of Joe Carter’s World Series-winning home run against the Phillies in Game 6 of the 1993 Fall Classic – “Touch ’em all Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.” – quickly became embedded in the sports conscious of Blue Jays fans around the globe, says the press release.
Umpire Hank O’Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th Century catcher/third baseman Deacon White, who were elected at the beginning of the week by the Pre-Integration Era Committee, will be inducted as part of Hall of Fame Ceremonies on July 28, along with any electees who emerge from 2013 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced Jan. 9.