Baseball Hall of Fame

2024’s Ford Frick Award is bestowed upon the Red Sox’ Voice Joe Castiglione, 41 seasons at Fenway!

JOE CASTIGLIONE HAS BEEN NAMED 2024 FORD C. FRICK AWARD WINNER; HE HAS CALLED RED SOX GAMES

Curt Smith wrote the first book on the history of baseball broadcasting in 1987.

In 1982, Hollywood released the marvelous My Favorite Year, starring Peter O’Toole as the film’s hero. A year later Joe Castiglione became the principal radio play-by-play man of the Boston Red Sox, his favorite year 2004, the Olde Towne team taking its first World Series since 1918. In Game Four, Boston led the set and Series, 3-0. Cried Joe on the last out: “And the Boston Red Sox are the world champions . . . for the first time in 86 years. Can you believe it?” It became his signature.

This week the Sox wireless Voice for the last 41 years, beloved in New England from Presque Isle to Providence, was hailed in a way that knit New England and beyond. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum named Castiglione the 2024 recipient of its Ford C. Frick Award given yearly to an announcer for “broadcast excellence”—to many, sport’s most prestigious individual radio/TV honor. Joe, its 48th recipient, will receive the Frick Award next July in Cooperstown.

Castiglione was chosen by  a 15-member voting committee of Frick recipients and broadcast historians and columnists, his point total topping other finalists Joe Buck, Gary Cohen, Jacques Doucet, Tom Hamilton, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ken Korach, Mike Krukow, Duane Kuiper, and Dan Shulman. Criteria included “commitment to excellence, quality of broadcast ability, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers.” It also coincided with the second year of a new system open to local and national voices active now or at some point since 1994—unlike a prior system limited only to a specific category or era.

Last year, Ford C. Frick Award voting selected Pat Hughes of the Chicago Cubs, like the Red Sox a storied  franchise. For the first time, each ballot had to include at least one foreign-language Voice—this year Doucet, former French Voice of the Expos and Blue Jays. New or old, to qualify for the award an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous big-league service with a club, network, or combination of each. Next July Induction Day will celebrate an abiding Hall of Fame mission: to honor baseball’s grand broadcast past, even as it hails today’s pastime on the air.

A future profile will etch the career of Boston’s longest tenured Voice, Joe breaking Ned Martin’s prior high of 32 years on radio and/or TV and linking “generations of Red Sox fans with a delivery that has become part of the New England fabric,” said Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch.. He noted that Castiglione’s first Sox year in 1983 was Carl Yastrzemski’s last—moreover, that Joe called Boston’s world titles in 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018—more than any other Twentieth Century team. Who would have believed that? Joe Castiglione continues to be the Olde Towne Team’s tie.

 

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Curt Smith

CURT SMITH is the author of 18 books, including Voices of The Game, recently named by Esquire magazine among “the 100 Best Baseball Books Ever Written.” His latest is the official Hall of Fame book, Memories from the Microphone. USA Today calls Smith “the leading voice of authority on baseball broadcasting.” He wrote more speeches than anyone for President George H. W. Bush, The New York Times styling his work “the high point of Bush familial eloquence.” Since 1998, Smith has been Senior Lecturer of English at the University of Rochester, teaching Public Speaking and Presidential Rhetoric. curtsmith@netacc.net

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Michael Green
4 months ago

I do not envy Mr. Smith or Mr. Halberstam having to make that choice among 10 terrific broadcasters. I’m also glad the ballot must include a foreign language announcer. I hope someday it can go to all of those nominated this time … as well as two Sox announcers with the team when Joe Castiglione came aboard, Ken Coleman and the abovementioned Nedley.