Dick Enberg, who has spent almost 20 years calling Major League Baseball games in Southern California bracketing remarkable stints at NBC and CBS, has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Enberg will be recognized during the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 25, as part of Hall of Fame Weekend 2015. Enberg becomes the 39th winner of the Frick Award, as he earned the highest point total in a vote conducted by the Hall of Fame’s 20-member Frick Award Committee.
“Dick Enberg’s unmistakable voice and remarkable enthusiasm for the National Pastime during the Living Room Era as voice of the California Angels from 1968-78 propelled his broadcast career in to the national limelight, as his baseball foundation became a launching pad for other sports and national assignments," said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “In the years since, his assignments with NBC Sports and now the San Diego Padres, his passion for the games – and for the fans who follow them through his friendly-and-ardent style – have made him one of sport’s most recognizable voices.”
Enberg was chosen from a list of 10 finalists selected in October, featuring three fan selections from an online vote and seven broadcasters chosen by a research committee from the Cooperstown-based museum. The final ballot featured broadcasters whose main contributions came from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, identified as the Living Room Era following the restructuring of the Frick Award election process by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors in 2013. The 10 finalists were: Richie Ashburn, Billy Berroa, Rene Cardenas, Dizzy Dean, Enberg, Ernie Johnson Sr., Ralph Kiner, Ned Martin, Joe Nuxhall and Jack Quinlan. In September, Enberg, Kiner and Quinlan emerged from the Museum’s online fan poll for inclusion on the final 10-name ballot as the top three fan poll selections.
The 20-member electorate, comprised of the 16 living Frick Award recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists, includes Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne and Bob Wolff, and historians/columnists Bob Costas (NBC/MLB Network), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
Voters were asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. To be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, network, or a combination of the two.
Dick Enberg - BL-4182-74 (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)
Born Jan. 9, 1935 in the Detroit suburb of Mount Clemens, Mich., Enberg grew up in nearby Armada, Mich. After graduating from Central Michigan University in 1957, he earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from Indiana University where he also taught health education classes before moving on to teach at San Fernando Valley State College – now known as Cal State Northridge.
Enberg began his broadcasting career as an undergraduate at Central Michigan and later broadcast both football and basketball games at Indiana. By the end of the 1960s, Enberg was calling California Angels games, a position he held from 1968-78. He also called games of the Los Angeles Rams and UCLA men’s basketball team and joined NBC Sports in 1975, remaining with the network for 25 years while working assignments that included the MLB Postseason and World Series as well as Wimbledon, college football and the National Football League.
Enberg called the memorable 1982 World Series featuring the Cardinals and the Brewers, and later returned to the Angels’ broadcast team in 1985. After moving to CBS Sports in 2000, Enberg covered events including football, tennis, basketball and golf before joining the Padres as their television play-by-play voice in 2010, a position he still holds.
Over a career that has spanned six decades and included 14 Emmy Awards, Enberg has established himself as one of sport’s top play-by-play announcers, with his signature “Oh, my!” call recognized around the world.
Dick Enberg participates in the Museum's Voices of the Game program. (Milo Stewart, Jr. / National Baseball Hall of Fame)