Great Call: Remembering Frick Award winner Milo Hamilton

Written by: Samantha Burkett

During the Atlanta Braves 1974 home opener at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run to put himself on top of the all-time home run list.

And when generations of fans relive that moment, it is the voice of Milo Hamilton they hear saying: “There’s a new home run champion of all-time! And it’s Henry Aaron!”

Like Aaron, Hamilton will forever be connected with the moment.

Hamilton, winner of the 1992 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, passed away on Sept. 17, 2015, at the age of 88 from natural causes. Hamilton was currently serving as the Astros’ Advisor to the Owner and held the title as Voice of the Astros, having entered his 70th year on the air in 2015.

Upon announcement of the Frick Award in 1992, former Hall of Fame President and current Museum Board Member Ed Stack congratulated Hamilton on his illustrious career.

“Milo is the consummate professional – a perfectionist whose goal has always been ‘to make today’s broadcast better than yesterday’s,’” Stack said. “He is a dedicated record-keeper who gives his listeners an accurate, consistent, uninterrupted account of the action.”

Hamilton broadcast major league baseball for nearly 60 years, a tenure surpassed by only Dodgers voice Vin Scully. His big league on-air career included stops with the St. Louis Browns (1953), St. Louis Cardinals (1954), Chicago Cubs (1956-57 and 1980-84), Chicago White Sox (1962-65), Atlanta Braves (1966-75), Pittsburgh Pirates (1976-79), and Houston Astros (1985-2012).

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Born in Fairfield, Iowa, on Sept. 2, 1927, Hamilton's career began in the U.S. Navy in 1945 on the A.F.R.S. on Guam and continued while a University of Iowa student in 1948. He graduated from the school with a degree in radio speech.

He has covered baseball, basketball, boxing, football and golf on all levels from college to professional at some point during his career. His smooth style appealed to his listeners, and his knowledge of the game earned him the respect of his peers.

His milestones include Ernie Banks' fifth grand-slam of the 1955 season, 11 no-hitters and Roger Maris' 61st homer (recreated on Western Union ticker). He was also on the Cardinals' broadcast crew when Stan Musial hit his record-breaking fifth home run in a doubleheader and he was doing the play-by-play 18 years later when San Diego's Nate Colbert duplicated Musial's feat.

During his career, Hamilton shared the broadcast booth with numerous other Frick Award winners, including Jack Brickhouse, Jack Buck, Harry Caray and Bob Elson.

He is predeceased by his wife of nearly 53 years, Arlene, who died in 2005.

Samantha Burkett is a freelance writer from Fairport, N.Y.
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