LOS ANGELES -- He hasn't thrown a pitch, hit a homer or even signed a big leaguer, but Jaime Jarrin will be honored Saturday night for his key contributions to baseball by a group that knows about key contributions to baseball.The Dodgers' Hall of Fame Spanish-language play-by-play icon will receive
LOS ANGELES -- He hasn't thrown a pitch, hit a homer or even signed a big leaguer, but Jaime Jarrin will be honored Saturday night for his key contributions to baseball by a group that knows about key contributions to baseball.
The Dodgers' Hall of Fame Spanish-language play-by-play icon will receive the Pioneer Award at the 16th annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation awards dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Among other honorees will be fellow Hall of Famers Frank Thomas and Jim Thome.
With 60 years in the booth, Jarrin is the dean of baseball broadcasters and in September he signed a two-year extension to continue as the anchor of the Spanish-language broadcast team that includes legendary pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, Pepe Yniquez and Jarrin's son, Jorge.
Jaime Jarrin has spent a career doing the talking, but he said the most satisfying part of his relationship with scouts is doing the listening.
"I've always enjoyed sitting with the scouts having dinner before the games and hearing their stories," said Jarrin, 83. "They are so well informed, are so insightful into the game and the players. It's always a delightful time for me to hear their anecdotes and it's a learning time for me, because I often use that information during the broadcasts.
"It is such an honor to be recognized by the scouts. Dennis Gilbert [co-founder of the PBSF] is such a wonderful man and the work they do for the scouts is fantastic."
Jarrin gained international notoriety in the 1980s serving as Valenzuela's translator, even though he had already been on the baseball scene for decades in a broadcast role that he trailblazed when Walter O'Malley, the Dodgers' late Hall of Fame owner, saw the need to communicate the club's story to the Latino audience in Los Angeles.
In the 2005 book "Voices of Summer," the trailblazing Jarrin was named baseball's all-time best Spanish-language broadcaster based on "longevity, continuity, network coverage, kudos, language, popularity, persona, voice, knowledge and miscellany."
Having studied philosophy, letters, journalism and broadcasting at Central University of Ecuador in Quito, Jarrin came to the United States at age 16. He saw the Dodgers win the 1955 World Series and fell in love with America's pastime.
He went to work for Los Angeles Spanish radio station KWKW, where he was news and sports director when the Dodgers moved west in 1958. KWKW bought the Spanish-language rights to Dodgers games and Jarrin became the lead play-by-play voice, although for the first six years he did not travel and instead re-created road games while listening to the English broadcasts.
Jarrin has funded a baseball academy in Guayaquil, Ecuador, for children ages 7-12, in hopes of growing the sport in his native country. In 2009 he was honored by the Society of St. Vincent DePaul for his commitment to changing the lives of at-risk youth in the community.
He has also called more than 30 championship boxing matches, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the California Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame, the California Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame and the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum
For more information on the event, visit https://pbsfonline.com
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.