He knows he’s a homer but Jerry Reinsdorf also believes the insight Hawk Harrelson brings to a broadcast has him Hall of Fame worthy.
Harrelson is one of 10 finalists this year for the Ford C. Frick award, which annually honors one broadcaster for major contributions to baseball broadcasting. Reinsdorf would love to see Harrelson, the team’s play-by-play man for 28 seasons since 1982, potentially join Frank Thomas in Cooperstown, N.Y. next summer for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Harrelson, who also has broadcast for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees in a career that began in 1975, has been a Frick finalist before in 2007.
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“I don’t know what the odds are, I don’t know how good the opportunity is, I do know he deserves to win the Frick Award,” Reinsdorf said earlier this month on WSCR-AM 670. “He’s one of the most colorful announcers around. He’s one of the most knowledgeable announcers around.”
It was Harrelson who gave Thomas his nickname ‘The Big Hurt’ when he began to tear the cover off the ball in the early 1990s. He also has coined more than his share of legendary White Sox phrases in a polarizing career in the booth, including “Put it on the board” and “He gone.” But that’s only part of the package, Reinsdorf said.
“There are so many Hawkisms,” Reinsdorf said. “To me, the most important is he knows the game. If you listen to Hawk and Steve Stone you’re going to learn a lot about baseball. I think that’s very important. And he believes in the White Sox. When we hired Hawk and Don Drysdale in 1982 I told them ‘I don’t want you to be homers. I want you to give us straight network quality broadcast’ and that went over like a led balloon. Chicago fans want their announcers to root for the team so I said to them ‘You’re on your own.’ Hawk certainly roots for the White Sox on the air, there’s no question about it. And when we lose it kills him. This year was a very tough year on Hawk and all (the announcers).”