Jon Miller wins the Frick Award

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Jon Miller.jpgI somehow missed this yesterday, but Giants/ESPN announcer Jon Miller was selected
as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award
, which is given annually to recognize
excellence in baseball broadcasting.

First, a digression: There is no “broadcaster’s wing” in the Hall of Fame. Indeed, broadcasters — even Frick Award winners — are not considered members of the Hall of Fame, even though it is the Hall of Fame which gives out the award. True, the winners are honored in an exhibit
near the Hall’s library, but that no more makes them members of the Hall of Fame than my name on a plaque at the Beckley, West Virginia Rotary Club makes me a Rotarian. They gave me an award once when I was a kid. Miller has one now too.  That doesn’t make him a “Hall of Famer” or put him in the “broadcaster’s wing,” and anyone who writes differently — which appears to be everyone — is full of beans on this point.

That aside, congratulations to Miller on what — no matter what you call it — is a major and prestigious award.  It’s totally deserving in my view, as I find Miller to be a wonderful play-by- play man, even more so on the radio than on TV.  While I appreciate that there are some people who don’t care for him, I can’t help but think their view is clouded by the fact that he has to interact with Joe Morgan every Sunday, which takes him off his game a bit.  That’s on Joe, though, not Miller.

Indeed, if Miller wasn’t there, we would be subjected to a much more concentrated dose of Joe Morgan on a weekly basis, and I don’t think any of us could handle that.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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