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Ntl Sports Media Assn names ’20 Class; HOF awards: Verducci, Young, Wilbon, S. Caray, Ledford and Patrick

NSMA voters select CBS and Turner's Kevin Harlan as Sportscaster of the Year and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski as Sportswriter of the Year

 

You’d hope that there’s no better judge of talent than your own colleagues. As such, being honored by your peers is special.

The NSMA announced its 2020 Hall of Fame class this week. The 61 year old group of broadcasters and writers also named its national and state winners.

The fresh Hall of Famers are Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, Fox and MLB Network fame; the late owner of arguably the mightiest New York sports pen ever, Dick Young and the talented co-host of Pardon the Interruption and former Washington Post columnist, Michael Wilbon.

The three broadcasters who’ll be enshrined in June are Cawood Ledford, a name as interchangeable with Kentucky basketball as anyone; the late Skip Caray whose wry humored play-by-play on Braves telecasts extended beyond Atlanta and became popular nationally on Turner and Dan Patrick who teamed with Keith Olbermann to popularize ESPN’s SportsCenter. Ledford and Caray will be honored posthumously. Skip was the son of Harry and the father of Chip who still calls Braves games.

The thundering voice of Kevin Harlan, one of the most popular network sports broadcasters in America wins the Sportscaster of the Year Award and Adrian Wojnarowski who’s both an on-air reporter for ESPN and a columnist of its website wins Sportswriter of the Year.

When I perused the national winners, my stream of consciousness struck. Verducci, a brilliant and prolific writer, is from the New York/New Jersey area. I figured it had to be an unimaginable thrill to enter the Hall on the same platform as the irrepressible Dick Young.

Verducci on the award:

I was blown away to hear that I was selected, especially to know this is the land of giants in the business – giants such as Dick Young.

My first thought was of my parents, who gave me love, encouragement … and the inspiration of newspapers. I was a paper boy for the Newark Star-Ledger, my mom was a voracious reader of the Daily News and my dad often brought home the New York Post. That’s a lot of ink on my fingers. Of course I read Young in the News. You had to read Young. Punchy, unflinching, and plugged in, he commanded your attention.

Verducci on Young:

Two years ago I wrote an SI feature on how the 1978 Yankees prospered down the stretch because the New York newspapers went on strike. Having Young silenced helped in particular. I wrote then:

“There was no stopping Young (left), who perfected, if not invented, adversarial sportswriting and rode it all the way to status as the most influential and highest-paid sports columnist in the country.”

   When Young died in 1987 the New York Times wrote in his obituary: “With all the subtlety of a knee in the groin, Dick Young made people gasp.” They meant it in the nicest way.

At Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (yes, the Bill Buckner game) I was seated next to Young in the Shea Stadium press box. Just before the first pitch a man parachuted on to the field and was whisked away by police. Young soon picked up the phone and was calling the local precinct to get any information about the guy. He was 69 years old, a huge legend, and as it happened would be dead in 10 months, but he was as eager and tenacious to get the story as a cub reporter. I never forgot that.

Last fall I wrote an SI piece on the wonder of Tom Seaver in 1969, and the sad toll of advancing dementia on him 50 years later. As part of that research I re-read much of Young’s coverage of those 1969 Mets. It still crackled. Years later, Young’s attacks that drove Seaver out of New York would not be his finest hours.

I grew up with a Tom Seaver poster in my bedroom, the Daily News in the living room and a dream that someday it would be cool to combine my passions for writing and baseball. This Hall of Fame honor is beyond my dreams.

****

To me, Wilbon and Kornheiser are a fun contrast, both so talented. Tony is funny and wears his emotions on his sleeve. Wilbon is smart, thoughtful and insightful. Between the two, they’re voices of reason. They weren’t born yesterday, yet they know the way young Americans like their news and opinions served up, in short snippets.

When you look at many of the names on this list, you remember the words of the late American writer and poet Max Ehrmann, “The world is a storehouse of wonderful things.”

Ledford proves that we are too often too late honoring deserving candidates. Ledford inspired so many young broadcasters to pursue play-by-play. The list of his admirers is endless. The first two that come to mind are Dick Stockton and Tom Hammond. We all fight that dreaded irreversible race against time. For Ledford who called it quits at 66 before the luster of his microphone dulled, there was no separation anxiety.

As for Young, I remember what the golfer Tom Watson said about the late scribe Dan Jenkins: “In this age of political correctness, we need more like him to set our common sense straight.”

Congrats to all!

HERE’S THE FULL LIST OF HALL OF FAME, NATIONAL AND STATE WINNERS:

2020 Hall of Fame Inductees:

HALL OF FAME SPORTSCASTERS:

Skip Caray, Atlanta Braves TV (D)

Cawood Ledford, Univ of Kentucky radio (D)

Dan Patrick, ESPN, NBC Sports, The Dan Patrick Show

HALL OF FAME SPORTSWRITERS:

Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated, Newsday, Florida Today

Mike Wilbon, Washington Post

Dick Young, New York Daily News (D)

————————————————————————————————————————

2019 NATIONAL WINNERS

NATIONAL SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Kevin Harlan, CBS, Turner, Westwood One (2)

NATIONAL SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR:

Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN (3)

————————————————————————————————————————-

2019 STATE WINNERS:

ALABAMA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

JD Byars, U. of S. Alabama/Jaguar Sports Properties, Mobile (1)

ALABAMA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News, TideSports.com, Tuscaloosa (3)

 

ARIZONA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Dave Pasch, Arizona Cardinals Radio Network/ESPN, Phoenix (4)

ARIZONA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Doug Haller, The Athletic, Phoenix (3)

Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star, Tucson (1)

 

ARKANSAS SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Steve Sullivan, KATV-TV, Little Rock (4)

ARKANSAS SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/arkansasonline.com, Fayetteville (3)

 

CALIFORNIA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Dave Flemming, SF Giants TV/Radio/ ESPN, San Francisco (1)

CALIFORNIA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles (2)

 

COLORADO SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Troy Renck, KMGH-TV, Denver (1)

COLORADO SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Ryan O’Halloran, Denver Post, Denver (1)

 

CONNECTICUT SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Wayne Norman, UConn Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, WILI-AM/97.9 ESPN, Hartford (1)

CONNECTICUT SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Dave Borges, Hearst Connecticut Media, New Haven (1)

 

DELAWARE SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Scott Klatzkin, Blue Hens Radio Network/Learfield IMG College, Newark (4)

DELAWARE SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Kevin Tresolini, The News Journal, Wilmington (12)

 

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Dave Johnson, Wizards/WTOP Radio/NBC 4/DC United, Washington(1)

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Thomas Boswell, Washington Post, Washington (2)

Brittany Ghiroli, The Athletic, Washington (1)

 

FLORIDA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Steve Goldstein, Panthers/FOX Sports Florida, Miami (1)

FLORIDA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Ft. Lauderdale (3)

 

GEORGIA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Steve Holman, Atlanta Hawks Radio Network, Atlanta (4)

GEORGIA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Steve Hummer, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta (11)

 

HAWAII SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Bobby Curran, ESPN Honolulu, Honolulu (6)

HAWAII SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Stephen Tsai, Honolulu Star Advertiser, Honolulu (7)

 

IDAHO SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Bob Behler, Bronco Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Boise (5)

IDAHO SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

B.J. Rains, Idaho Press, Nampa (3)

 

ILLINOIS SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Pat Foley, Blackhawks/NBC Sports Chicago (1)

ILLINOIS SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, Chicago (3)

 

INDIANA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Don Fischer, IU Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Bloomington (27)

INDIANA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis (3)

 

IOWA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Gary Dolphin, Hawkeye Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Iowa City (3)

IOWA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Mike Hlas, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Cedar Rapids (6)

 

KANSAS SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Wyatt Thompson, K-State Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Manhattan (5)

KANSAS SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Rick Peterson, Topeka Capital-Journal, Topeka (4)

 

KENTUCKY SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Tom Leach, UK Sports Network, Lexington (6)

KENTUCKY SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Mark Story, Lexington Herald-Leader, Lexington (2)

 

LOUISIANA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Ken Trahan, Cumulus NO/Crescent City Sports, New Orleans (1)

LOUISIANA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Jeff Duncan, The Athletic, New Orleans (1)

Les East, Crescent City Sports, New Orleans (2)

 

MAINE SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Bill Green, WCSH-TV, Portland (3)

MAINE SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Travis Lazarczyk, Morning Sentinel, Kennebec (1)

 

MARYLAND SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Pete Gilbert, WBAL-TV/Radio, Baltimore (3)

MARYLAND SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Pat Stoetzer, Carroll County Times, Westminster (1)

 

MASSACHUSETTS SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Jerry Remy, Red Sox/NESN (2)

MASSACHUSETTS SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Mike Reiss, ESPN.com (Boston), Boston (1)

Dan Shaughnessy, The Boston Globe, Boston (14)

 

MICHIGAN SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Jack Ebling, Spotlight Radio Network & Fox 47, Lansing (2)*

MICHIGAN SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, Detroit (3)

 

MINNESOTA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Mike Grimm, Gopher Radio Network/Learfield IMG College, Minneapolis(4)

MINNESOTA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

LaVelle E. Neal III, Minneapolis Star Tribune (1)

Michael Russo, The Athletic, Minneapolis (4)

 

MISSISSIPPI SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Bart Gregory, MSU Bulldog Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, SEC Network, Starkville (1)

MISSISSIPPI SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Rick Cleveland, Syndicated Columnist, Jackson (12)

 

MISSOURI SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Mike Kelly, Mizzou Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Columbia (7)

MISSOURI SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis (2)

 

MONTANA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Riley Corcoran, Grizzly Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Missoula (2)

MONTANA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Greg Rachac, 406MTSports.com, Billings (5)

 

NEBRASKA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Matt Lothrop, KETV-TV, Omaha (1)

NEBRASKA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Parker Gabriel, Journal Star, Lincoln (1)

 

NEVADA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Chris Maathuis, KLAS-TV, Las Vegas (3)

NEVADA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Dave Schoen, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas (1)

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Justin McIsaac, Wildcat Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Durham (2)

NEW HAMPSHIRE SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Mike Zhe, Portsmouth Herald, Portsmouth (2)

 

NEW JERSEY SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Mike Frankel, Jersey Sports Zone, Trenton (1)

NEW JERSEY SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Steve Politi, NJ Advance Media, Newark (2)

 

NEW MEXICO SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Jack Nixon, NM State Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Las Cruces (5)

NEW MEXICO SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Will Webber, Santa Fe New Mexican, Santa Fe (2)

 

NEW YORK SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Ian Eagle, Brooklyn Nets/YES Network/CBS Sports, New York City (5)

NEW YORK SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Mike Vaccaro, New York Post (3)

 

NORTH CAROLINA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

John Forslund, Carolina Hurricanes TV/FOX Sports Carolinas, Raleigh (2)

David Glenn, David Glenn Show (2)

NORTH CAROLINA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Ed Hardin, News & Record, Greensboro (4)

 

NORTH DAKOTA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Dom Izzo, WDAY-TV, Fargo (1)

NORTH DAKOTA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Tom Miller, Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks (1)

 

OHIO SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Dan Hoard, Bengals Radio/Bearcats Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Cincinnati (3)

OHIO SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati (2)

 

OKLAHOMA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

John Holcomb, KOTV-TV & Cowboy Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Tulsa (3)

OKLAHOMA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Bill Haisten, Tulsa World (2)

 

OREGON SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

John Canzano, 750-AM The Game (Portland), 1050-AM (Eugene), 960-AM (Klamath Falls) (2)**

OREGON SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Jason Quick, The Athletic, Portland (4)

 

PENNSYLVANIA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

John Clark, NBC 10/NBC Sports Philadelphia, Philadelphia

PENNSYLVANIA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Bob Ford, Philadelphia Inquire (7)

 

RHODE ISLAND SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Ruthie Polinsky, WPRI-TV, Providence (1)

RHODE ISLAND SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Kevin McNamara, Providence Journal, Providence (2)

 

SOUTH CAROLINA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Scott Eisberg, WCIV-TV, Charleston (2)

SOUTH CAROLINA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Manie Robinson, Greenville News, Greenville (2)

Gene Sapakoff, Post and Courier, Charleston (7)

 

SOUTH DAKOTA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Scott Kooistra, KYNT-AM 1450, Yankton (1)

SOUTH DAKOTA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Ryan Deal, Daily Republic, Mitchell (3)

 

TENNESSEE SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Pete Weber, Predators Radio Network (102.5 The Game), Nashville (7)

TENNESSEE SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Teresa Walker, Associated Press, Nashville (3)

 

TEXAS SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Dale Hansen, WFAA-TV, Dallas (4)

John Morris, Baylor Bear Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Waco (1)

TEXAS SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman, Austin (5)

Jenny Creech, Houston Chronicle (1)

 

UTAH SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Craig Bolerjack, Jazz/AT&T SportsNet, Salt Lake City (2)

UTAH SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Gordon Monson, Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City (2)

 

VERMONT SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Lauren Walsh, WFFF/WVNY-TV, Burlington (1)

VERMONT SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR (TIE)

Michael Beniash, Caledonian Record, St. Johnsbury (1)

Austin Danforth, Burlington Free Press, Burlington (2)

 

VIRGINIA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Mike Burnop, Virginia Tech Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Blacksburg (1)

VIRGINIA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

David Teel, Daily Press, Newport News (13)

 

WASHINGTON SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Dave Sims, Mariners/ROOT Sports, Seattle (2)

WASHINGTON SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Larry Stone, Seattle Times, Seattle (3)

 

WEST VIRGINIA SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Steve Cotton, Thundering Herd Sports Properties/Learfield IMG College, Huntington (14)

WEST VIRGINIA SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Chuck McGill, Thundering Herd Illustrated/HerdZone.com, Huntington (8)

 

WISCONSIN SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Matt Lepay, Badgers Sports Network/Learfield IMG College, FOX Sports Wisconsin, Madison (9)

WISCONSIN SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee (4)

 

WYOMING SPORTSCASTER OF THE YEAR

Scott Mangold, KPOW Radio, Powell (1)

WYOMING SPORTSWRITER OF THE YEAR

Davis Potter, Casper Star-Tribune, Casper (1)***

 

*(D) Deceased

* In parenthesis are the number of times the awardee has been honored

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David J. Halberstam
David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History.

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Michael Green
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Congrats to all! Nice to see Flem honored in California–a terrific young broadcaster.

Both Vin Scully and Lindsey Nelson spoke of getting along with Dick Young, so he bey have been more tolerant of great sportscasters. But the Seaver issue did tarnish him–and while Red Smith and he feuded over it, Red opposed women sportswriters in the locker room and Young supported them. Go figure!