Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott is set to become just the third member of the media to be honoured by both the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Elliott, who has masterfully covered baseball in Canada for more than 30 years, will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in a ceremony at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown on Saturday.
Considered the highest honour a diamond scribe can receive, this award is presented annually to a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for meritorious contributions in their field.
This accolade comes just 13 months after Elliott, who has been penning grassroots baseball stories for close to four decades, was awarded the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award for his lifetime contributions to the sport in Canada. (You can read more about Elliott winning the Jack Graney Award here: https://kevinglew.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/bob-elliott-captures-ball-halls-jack-graney-award/)
With Saturday’s honour, Elliott will join broadcasting legends Ernie Harwell and Dave Van Horne as the only media members to be honoured by both the Canadian and American baseball shrines.
Hired by the Detroit Tigers in 1960, Harwell called games in Motown for 42 seasons and became the beloved voice of the club. Before the Toronto Blue Jays came along in 1977, Harwell’s voice over the radio turned thousands in Southwestern Ontario into Tigers fans. His low-key delivery and catchphrases charmed listeners. When a foul ball was hit into the stands, Harwell would say, “A fan from (INSERT TOWN HERE) will be taking that ball home today” and after a batter watched a called third strike, he was bound to blurt out, “Called out for excessive window shopping.”
Prior to his more than four decades with the Tigers, he provided play-by-play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants and Baltimore Orioles. In 1981, he became the first active broadcaster to receive the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in his field. In 2002, his final season behind the mike, he was feted with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award. Harwell passed away on May 4, 2010 at age 92.
Dave Van Horne
This Easton, Pa., native first met John McHale when he was performing play-by-play duties for the Triple-A Richmond Braves. At the time, McHale was president of the parent Atlanta Braves. When McHale took charge of the Montreal Expos, he hired Van Horne prior to their inaugural 1969 campaign. The smooth-voiced Van Horne would call Expos contests for 32 seasons and was in the club’s broadcast booth for everything from the franchise’s first game to “Blue Monday” in 1981 to Dennis Martinez’s perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 28, 1991. Van Horne’s “El Presidente! El Perfecto!” call at the end of that contest is one of the most celebrated in Canadian baseball history.
After the Expos failed to secure an English radio deal in 2000 and 2001, Van Horne accepted a position with the Florida Marlins. He would call the Marlins’ World Series championship in 2003, and fittingly, in 2004, he would return to Montreal, as a member of Florida’s crew, to provide play-by-play for the final contest in Expos history. Van Horne was awarded the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award in 1996 and the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 2011.
For a list of players, managers, and executives who have been inducted into both the Canadian and American baseball shrines, click on this link: https://kevinglew.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/the-elite-eight-members-of-the-canadian-baseball-hall-of-fame-cooperstown/