2021 Ford C. Frick Award Winner Al Michaels
Al Michaels began his work on the national stage at the zenith of the reach of the three major television networks.
And Michaels always seemed to rise to the moment, calling the most memorable games of his generation.
Michaels, the winner of the Hall of Fame’s 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters, ascended to prominence as the voice of ABC’s baseball coverage in the 1970s and 80s. In an era when cable television was just getting started and the internet was merely a dream, Michaels became the face of ABC Sports with his straight-ahead delivery and passion for the athletes and their games.
Born in Brooklyn, Michaels and his family moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s. After playing baseball and football in high school, Michaels enrolled at the Arizona State University with the intention of becoming a broadcaster. By 1968, Michaels was the voice of the Pacific Coast League’s Hawaii Islanders and the University of Hawaii football and basketball teams.
In 1971, Michaels joined the Cincinnati Reds broadcast team, remaining for three seasons before moving on to the San Francisco Giants, where he called games from 1974-76. He joined ABC Sports in 1976, working the League Championship Series that fall and then taking a full-time post with ABC in 1977.
From there, Michaels quickly established himself as a versatile voice – capable of outstanding work at any event. But it was baseball where Michaels’ voice resounded best.
With ABC and NBC sharing the Major League Baseball contract, Michaels called World Series games in odd-numbered years from 1979 through 1989, then again in 1995 as part of The Baseball Network. He handled duties on the All-Star Game in even-numbered years from 1980-88 and 1995, and called LCS action in event numbered years from 1976-88 and ’95.
Oft-cited as one of his favorite moments was Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS between the Red Sox and Angels when Dave Henderson’s two-out, two-strike home run in the ninth inning brought Boston back from the brink of elimination.
Michaels, whose legendary resume also includes the 1980 Miracle on Ice at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics and more than three decades as the voice of Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football, is the 45th winner of the Frick Award, presented annually by the Hall of Fame for major contributions to baseball.