By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Legendary Cleveland Indians player turned broadcaster Jack Graney (St. Thomas, Ont.) is one of eight finalists for the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2022 Ford C. Frick Award.
The award is handed out annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting.
The winner will be announced on Dec. 8 at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla., and will be honoured at an awards ceremony on July 23 as part of the Hall of Fame’s 2022 induction weekend in Cooperstown.
The list of finalists, which represent broadcasters from the Hall’s Broadcasting Beginnings category, was unveiled today.
The seven other finalists for the broadcasting excellence award are Pat Flanagan, Waite Hoyt, France Laux, Rosey Rowswell, Hal Totten, Ty Tyson and Bert Wilson. All of the candidates are deceased.
Graney’s road to the big leagues began in St. Thomas, Ont., where he was discovered and recommended to the Chicago Cubs by fellow Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer, Bob Emslie. After a season in the Cubs organization, Graney was sold to the Cleveland Indians, where he would evolve into a steady, dependable outfielder.
His big league resume boasts a number of firsts. When Graney walked to the plate in a game against the Boston Red Sox on July 11, 1914, he became the first batter to face Babe Ruth. Almost two years later, on June 26, 1916, he would be the first major leaguer to bat wearing a number on his uniform. A scrappy leadoff hitter, Graney led the American League in walks twice (1917 and 1919) and in doubles once (1916). The speedy Canuck also finished in the top 10 in triples in 1913 and 1916, with 12 and 14 three-baggers respectively. He was also a member of the World Series-winning Cleveland squad in 1920.
After his playing career, Graney became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth, performing radio play-by-play for Cleveland from 1932 to 1953.
For his efforts, he was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Canadian ball shrine now presents an annual award named in his honour to a media member who has made a significant contribution to the game of baseball in Canada through their life’s work.
The Frick Award election cycle rotates annually among Current Major League Markets (team-specific announcers); National Voices (broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level); and Broadcasting Beginnings (early team voices and pioneers of baseball broadcasting). This cycle repeats every three years.
Final voting for the 2022 Frick Award will be conducted by an electorate comprised of the 13 living Frick Award recipients and three broadcast historians/columnists, including past honorees Marty Brennaman, Bob Costas, Ken Harrelson, Jaime Jarrín, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Al Michaels, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Vin Scully, Bob Uecker and Dave Van Horne, and historians/columnists David J. Halberstam (historian), Barry Horn (formerly of the Dallas Morning News) and Curt Smith (historian).
The 2022 Frick Award ballot was created by a subcommittee that included Brennman, Matthews, Nadel, Halbertstam and Smith.
To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service.
For information on the other candidates (other than Graney), you can follow this link.
Such great news for the Graney family! Our fingers are crossed for him to be picked.
Thanks for the comment, Scott.
Jack Graney is such an iconic figure in baseball history. It would be great if he were to get this award. I love accessing Baseball-reference and the SABR bio-project life stories for the details of players’ lives and careers. So I found doing this research that Graney was originally a pitcher which I didn’t know and also the roommate and great friend of Ray Chapman, the Cleveland Indian who was killed by a Carl Mays’ pitch.
For those of you who also love to read baseball history, I have just finished reading “Connie Mack’s ’29 Triumph” by Bill Kashatus and am halfway through “Honus Wagner: A Biography” by Dennis and Jeanne (Burke) DeValeria, both books that I have very much enjoyed.
Thanks for your comment and for sharing your reading recommendation, Len. Hope you are well.
I’ve been meaning to pick up the book about Jack — Jack and Larry : Jack Graney and Larry, the Cleveland Baseball Dog by Barbara Gregorich. Can anyone here offer a suggestion? FYI for those looking, I’ve only seen copies of the physical book available via ebay.
To Frank: If you haven’t already, I suggest you Google Barbara Gregorich and read her blog about the book which I found very interesting.
To Kevin and everyone: Jack Graney threw left and batted left, yet in the picture of him above he is holding a pen in his right hand. Another picture of him on Barbara Gregorich’s website, shows him writing right handed. Jack grew up at a time when lefthanders were forced by their teachers to write and print right handed. I believe this was to prevent smudging the ink as left handers would do as they moved across the page. The great Lefty O’Doul was one of baseball’s greatest hitters and he both threw and batted left handed. But when he autographed a ball for me back in 1956, he also wrote right handed. Say it ain’t so Lefty.
Thanks for your help and for sharing this interesting information, Len. Hope you are doing well.