Tim Kurkjian, Jack Graney honored by Baseball Hall of Fame

Jul 23, 2022, 4:00 AM | Updated: 4:47 pm
In this photo provided by Milo Stewart Jr. and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, from ...

In this photo provided by Milo Stewart Jr. and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, from left to right, Perry Smith, granddaughter of the late Jack Graney, who received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting, writer Tim Kurkjian, who was honored with the Baseball Writers' Association of America's Career Excellence Award, Hall of Fame Chairman Jane Forbes Clark, BBWAA president Larry Stone, and Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch pose on stage at the Opera Theater in Cooperstown, N.Y., Saturday, July 23, 2022. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum via AP) .

(Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum via AP)

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Writer Tim Kurkjian and the late Jack Graney, the first former major league player to transfer to the broadcast booth, were honored Saturday by the Baseball Hall of Fame for their contributions to the game.

Kurkjian was presented with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s Career Excellence Award. He began his career in 1979 at the Washington Star and two years later was the Texas Rangers beat writer for The Dallas Morning News. Four years later, he returned to his native Maryland and joined The Baltimore Sun, covering the Orioles for four years. He then spent seven years as a senior baseball writer at Sports Illustrated.

“It’s such an honor to be here,” said Kurkjian, who moved to broadcasting at ESPN in 1998. “This has been the most overwhelming, most overpowering experience of my life. That love for the game, not in any sort of grace or talent, has carried my career. It was a privilege to cover the game 40 years ago, and now 40 years later, it is still a privilege. Baseball is the greatest game.”

Graney was honored posthumously with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting, but he started his career on the field for Cleveland and was the first major league player to bat against Babe Ruth (1914). He finished a 14-year playing career in 1922 and after a stint in automotive sales was hired in 1932 by Cleveland radio staion WHK to call games. He spent 22 years calling them for several stations and is now widely considered to be the first former big league player to broadcast a major league game.

Graney, who also called the 1935 World Series for a national audience in 1935 and that year’s All-Star Game in Cleveland, died in 1978.

Granddaughter Perry Smith spoke in his behalf.

“If Jack were here today, he would never tell you about his accomplishments,”she said. “He was such a humble man. And he probably was embarrassed by praise. Here’s how Jack described his career. He said, ‘I always tried to give the fans an honest account. It was a tremendous responsibility. And at all times I kept in mind that I was the eyes of the radio audience. I just tried to do my best and I hope my best was good enough.'”

Also Saturday, more than 50 Hall of Famers took part in the annual Parade of Legends. Chairs were lined up four deep on Main Street more than four hours before the parade began. Inside the Hall of Fame’s Plaque Gallery, several fans dressed in Red Sox gear stopped to take photos at the spot where the plaque of former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, afffectionately called Big Papi, will hang after his induction.

Thousands of Red Sox fans lined the route through the village center, many wearing Big Papi’s No. 34 on the back, and about 20 were carrying a Domincian Republic flag and chanting “Papi! Papi!” Several souvenir tables were set up with Ortiz induction jerseys in red and blue.

Ortiz is just the 58th player selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot. He’s part of the seven-member Class of 2022 that will be inducted on Sunday.

Joining Ortiz on stage will be three-time batting champion Tony Oliva and 283-game winner Jim Kaat.

Also getting their due on induction day are: Dodgers great Gil Hodges, who managed the New York Mets to their first World Series title in 1969; Minnie Miñoso, a star with the Chicago White Sox in the 1950s; Buck O’Neil, who played for the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues and was a tireless advocate for the game; and Bud Fowler, a pioneering Black player who grew up in Cooperstown in the 1860s and played in more than a dozen leagues.

___

Freelance writer Ken Powtak contributed.

___

More AP MLB coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) throws against the Arizona Diamondbacks dur...
Associated Press

Mikolas deals, Goldschmidt hits 30th HR, Cards beat D-backs

PHOENIX (AP) — Miles Mikolas threw eight dominant innings, Paul Goldschmidt connected for his 30th homer of the season and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1 on Friday night. Nolan Arenado hit three doubles and a single while veteran catcher Yadier Molina added a season-high three hits and scored a run. Goldschmidt […]
22 hours ago
Seattle Mariners' Eugenio Suarez hits a three-run home run against the Oakland Athletics during the...
Associated Press

Suarez’s 2 homers, 5 RBIs lead Seattle to 10-2 win over A’s

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Eugenio Suarez homered twice and drove in five runs as the Seattle Mariners cruised to their fourth straight win, 10-2 over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night. Marco Gonzales (8-12) allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings and beat Oakland for the third time this season. Seattle maintained a half-game lead […]
22 hours ago
Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez watches his sacrifice fly off Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Joh...
Associated Press

Astros slugger Alvarez hospitalized with shortness of breath

ATLANTA (AP) — Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez was taken to a hospital during Friday night’s game against Atlanta because of shortness of breath that was exacerbated by the Braves’ in-game fireworks, Houston manager Dusty Baker said. Alvarez departed the game under his own power with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. […]
22 hours ago
Colorado Rockies' Elehuris Montero is congratulated by teammates after the team's baseball game aga...
Associated Press

Montero homers twice with 5 RBIs, Rockies beat Giants 7-4

DENVER (AP) — Rookie Elehuris Montero homered twice and drove in five runs to back the solid pitching of José Ureña, and the Colorado Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 7-4 on Friday night to snap a five-game losing streak. Connor Joe also homered and Wynton Bernard and José Iglesias hit successive doubles to ignite […]
22 hours ago
Baltimore Orioles' Anthony Santander, right, and Ryan Mountcastle celebrate Mountcastle's home run ...
Associated Press

Orioles hit 5 homers, outslug Red Sox in wild 15-10 win

BALTIMORE (AP) — Anthony Santander hit one of the Orioles’ five homers and drove in four runs, and Baltimore outslugged the Boston Red Sox 15-10 on Friday night. Jorge Mateo, Adley Rutschman, Ryan Mountcastle and Ramón Urías also connected for the Orioles, who had combined to score three runs in their previous two games, both […]
22 hours ago
Texas Rangers' Nate Lowe hits an RBI-single against Minnesota Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar during t...
Associated Press

Arraez, Miranda homer back-to-back; Twins beat Rangers 2-1

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Luis Arraez and Jose Miranda hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, and that was enough for Dylan Bundy as the Minnesota Twins beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 on Friday night. Bundy (7-5) gave up a run on just two hits in 5 1/3 innings. Minnesota won its fourth game in […]
22 hours ago
Tim Kurkjian, Jack Graney honored by Baseball Hall of Fame