Mercy! Ken Harrelson honored by election as 2020 Frick Award winner
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“It’s just such an honor,” said Harrelson on a media conference call from Orlando, Fla., soon after he received the good news. “I’ve always considered myself to be probably as lucky, if not the luckiest, human being who ever stepped two feet on the face of the earth.
“I’ve got a great family and had a wonderful career. I’ve been with some great people and with an organization (the White Sox) that I think, in my opinion, is certainly the best in baseball and one of the best in all of sports. So it’s going to be an honor. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Asked what he was feeling after receiving the Frick Award news from Hall of Fame President Tim Mead, Harrelson, a Frick Award finalist in 2007, 2014 and 2017, replied: “I just couldn’t think. It was almost like I had a brain cramp. I’ve won some awards in my life and done some things in my life that I was very proud of, but this was something different. I really haven’t digested it yet. Maybe I have, but ‘Hawk’ hasn’t. That’s my buddy. We’ll get this thing sorted out to where I can get my thoughts together.
“About two or three weeks later, Cosell called me and he said he was coming to Boston and wanted to talk to me. We met at Fenway and he said, ‘I’m going to give you the best piece of advice you’ll ever get about announcing. Don’t try and please everybody because you can’t.’ That has been my motto since I began broadcasting in 1975.”
A two-time Illinois Sportscaster of the Year and five-time Emmy Award winner, Harrelson was a big league first baseman/outfielder for nine seasons. After helping the Red Sox win the American League pennant in 1967, he came back the next season with 35 home runs with a major-league leading 109 RBI. Also spending time with the Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Washington Senators, his time on the diamond ended in 1970 with a broken leg.
“Who I’m happiest for now and who keeps popping up in my mind is my beautiful Greek wife, Aris, and our children, Krista and Casey, and our grandchildren, Nico, Alexander and Hank,” reflected Harrelson on his upcoming Cooperstown summer. “I thought that one day that I would go in, but I told my family that it would probably be after I’ve passed away. I’m just so happy to be able to share this with them.
“I love baseball right now more than I ever have because of the fact that it’s the greatest game going. It’s just been a wonderful life for me.”
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum