Tom Cheek has been selected as the 2013 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Cheek called the first 4,306 regular-season and 41 postseason games in Toronto Blue Jays history.
Cheek, who passed away Oct. 9, 2005, will be honored during this year’s Hall of Fame Weekend, July 26–29, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. Cheek becomes the second Frick Award winner whose career came primarily with a Canadian team, following former Montreal Expos announcer Dave Van Horne’s selection in 2011.
“Tom Cheek was the voice of summer for generations of baseball fans in Canada and beyond,” said Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson. “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.”
In 1974, Cheek started as Van Horne’s backup announcer for Expos broadcasts. Two years, later he became the radio voice of the Blue Jays. He called every regular season and postseason Blue Jays game from the franchise’s birth on April 7, 1977 through June 2, 2004, retiring because of a terminal brain tumor. Cheek passed away on Oct. 9, 2005.
Cheek was inducted into the Blue Jays Level of Excellence in 2005. That same year, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame established the Tom Cheek Media Leadership Award, honoring Cheek with the first award.
Cheek will be honored at the Hall of Fame’s Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 27 in Cooperstown, along with 2013 J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner Paul Hagen.
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.
The Ford C. Frick Award is voted upon annually and is named in memory of the sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and baseball commissioner.