Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson wins Hall of Fame's top broadcasting honor after decades of colorfully calling White Sox games

Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Baseball

CHICAGO -- You can put it on the board -- yes!

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, whose 42 years as a major league broadcaster included 33 with the White Sox, is the winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame's 2020 Ford C. Frick Award.

The selection by a panel of the 11 living past Frick honorees and four historians/columnists was announced Wednesday at baseball's winter meetings.

Harrelson, 78, who retired in 2018, is the fifth Chicago announcer to earn the honor -- following Milo Hamilton (1992), Harry Caray (1989), Jack Brickhouse (1983) and Bob Elson (1979) -- since the Frick was first awarded in 1978.

"It's just such an honor," Harrelson said Wednesday. "I've always considered myself to be probably as lucky, if not the luckiest, human being ever stepped two feet on the face of the earth. I've got a great family and a wonderful career and been with some great people and with an organization that in my opinion is certainly the best in baseball and one of the best in all of sports. So it's going to be an honor. It's going to be a lot of fun. And as long as I can keep Bob Uecker off my ass, I'll be all right."

Harrelson fielded the call from the Hall of Fame from his home, surrounded by family and friends, including former White Sox catcher-turned-broadcaster A.J. Pierzynski. The news he had been selected left him momentarily -- and uncharacteristically -- at a loss for words.


"I just couldn't think," Harrelson said later. "It was almost like I had a brain cramp. ... I have won some awards in my life and done some things in my life that I was very proud of, but this was something different. This was something different, and I haven't really digested it yet. Maybe I have, but 'Hawk' hasn't, and you know that's my buddy. We'll get this thing sorted out where I can get my thoughts together.

"But I'll put it this way, (Tuesday) night when I went to bed, it was the first time I had trouble falling asleep because I knew what was going to happen today, either good or somebody (else) was going in. I just started thinking about all the great names on that list. Everybody on that list should be in the Hall of Fame. Great announcers there."

White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said: "This is something that should have happened a long time ago, but at the end it worked out so it was worth waiting for.

"Everybody has been talking about Hawk's personality and making the nicknames he came up with and (phrases such as) 'Put it on the board.' Everybody is overlooking the fact he actually taught the game of baseball. If you watch the White Sox telecast and you listen to Hawk you learn something about the game itself."


swipe to next page


blog comments powered by Disqus