Royals announcer Matthews wins Frick Award

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Kansas City Royals announcer Denny Matthews won the Ford C. Frick Award on Thursday, presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.

Matthews will be honored July 29 at the Hall of Fame ceremonies when Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. are inducted and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch receives the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.

"It's pretty heady stuff," Matthews said. "You stop and look at the previous recipients and, gosh, those are guys that when I was kid I was lying in bed and twisting the radio dial around and listening to. Jack Buck and Joe Garagiola and Harry Caray and all the Chicago broadcasters. And even on some nights in central Illinois, when the weather conditions were just right, I could pick up Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota and some other games. ... Little did I know at the time that I was under the influence of those guys."

Matthews is one of eight announcers to spend an entire career with one club and broadcast for 35 or more consecutive seasons. The others: Vin Scully of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (56), Buck of the St. Louis Cardinals (47), Jaime Jarrin of the Dodgers (44), Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds (40), Phil Rizzuto of the New York Yankees (40), Mike Shannon of the Cardinals (35) and Richie Ashburn of the Philadelphia Phillies (35).

Other finalists for the Frick Award included Tom Cheek, Dizzy Dean, Ken Harrelson, Bill King, Tony Kubek, France Laux, Graham McNamee, Dave Niehaus and Nuxhall. Fourteen living Frick Award winners and six broadcast historians and columnists vote for the award.

The final Hall of Fame vote is being conducted by the Veterans Committee, whose decision will be announced Feb. 27.