11/01/06 12:00 AM ET
Santo tops Cubs voices on Frick ballot
Charismatic broadcaster among several competing for honor
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
Santo, 66, who doesn't hide his feelings for his beloved Cubs, is coming off his 17th season as color commentator for WGN Radio. The former Cubs third baseman, who played for the team from 1960-73, is not only a booster of the club but also the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Santo has lost both of his legs because of complications with diabetes, but that hasn't slowed him down. He often sounds as if he'd like to jump out of the broadcast booth and back into his uniform.
His 28th annual Ron Santo "Walk for the Cure" walk-a-thon, held on Oct. 8, raised nearly $6 million for diabetes research, and more than $63 million has been raised since he got involved with the JDRF.
Hughes, 51, has been Santo's play-by-play partner the last 11 seasons. He has been in the baseball broadcast booth for 24 years, including an extended stint with the Milwaukee Brewers from 1984-95. Hughes was named the Illinois Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 and 1999, and he earned Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year Award honors three times (1990-92).
Stone, 59, joined ESPN in 2005 after 20 seasons as a Cubs television broadcaster (1983-2000, 2003-04). He spent 15 years in the booth alongside Harry Caray before being paired with Chip Caray for the 1998-2000 seasons.
Winner of the 1980 American League Cy Young Award, Stone pitched in the Majors from 1971-81 for the Giants, White Sox, Cubs and Orioles.
Presented annually since 1978, the Ford C. Frick Award is given to an active or retired broadcaster with a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network or a combination of the two.
Fans will have the opportunity to vote for up to three of the broadcasters eligible for consideration for the award. Fans are allowed to vote once daily on MLB.com, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame Web site. Results will be announced on Dec. 6, and the final ballot will be comprised of three fan selections along with seven other candidates. The seven will be determined by a Hall of Fame staff research team. The Frick electorate includes all living award winners and six historians appointed by the Hall of Fame.
The winner will be announced on Feb. 22, 2007.
The voting electorate features 2006 Ford C. Frick Award winner Gene Elston, 2005 winner Jerry Coleman and the other living award winners: Marty Brennaman, Herb Carneal, Joe Garagiola, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolff.
Voters are asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. Paper ballots will be cast by voting members in January, and the final results will be announced on the Hall of Fame's Web site.
Each voter will cast ballots for three candidates, and the broadcaster with the most support will be named as that year's award winner and be honored at the annual induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Longtime Cubs broadcasters Caray and Jack Brickhouse are past Frick Award winners.
Besides Santo, Hughes and Stone, here is a list of some Cubs-related broadcasters to be considered:
Lou Boudreau: Boudreau was a broadcaster for 33 years, all with the Cubs. A Hall of Fame shortstop, Boudreau slipped comfortably into the booth in 1958 and remained there until 1990. He first joined the Cubs on WGN as a color sidekick for Jack Quinlan in 1958. Boudreau left broadcasting briefly in 1960 for a stint as the Cubs manager. He worked with Caray, who called Boudreau his "cup of tea."
Vince Lloyd: Lloyd was a broadcaster for 32 years (1955-86), all in Chicago, with the White Sox (1955-64) and Cubs (1965-86). He began calling White Sox games on television with Brickhouse in 1955. Lloyd took over as the Cubs' lead play-by-play radio man in 1965, following the death of Quinlan. After his career behind the microphone, he served as co-general manager of The Tribune Company's radio syndication, helping to expand the Cubs' affiliate network. He was the first announcer to interview an American president at a baseball game, John F. Kennedy on Opening Day, April 10, 1961, in Washington, D.C.
Jack Quinlan: Quinlan was a broadcaster for 10 years (1955-64), all with the Cubs. His career ended tragically when he was killed in an automobile accident during Spring Training 1965. The voice of the Cubs teamed with Boudreau from 1958-64. He was the crosstown protégé of popular White Sox broadcaster Bob Elston.
Hal Totten: Totten was a baseball broadcaster for 21 years (1924-50) and was the voice of baseball in Chicago with the Cubs (1924-44) and White Sox (1926-44). He helped solidify baseball on radio. He became the first regular-season radio announcer on April 23, 1924, providing the play-by-play call of the Cubs' 12-1 win over the Cardinals on Chicago's WMAQ radio.
Bert Wilson: Wilson was a baseball broadcaster for 12 years with the Cubs (1944-55). He invented the catchphrase "Bingo to Bango to Bilko" to describe double plays turned among Ernie Banks, Gene Baker and Steve Bilko. He was renowned for the phrase "I don't care who wins, as long as it is the Cubs." He began his broadcast career with WMT in Chicago, calling Cubs games from a rooftop behind the center-field bleachers.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.