Kuiper honored to be finalist for Frick Award
Club fueled campaign for longtime broadcaster's Hall of Fame nomination
SAN FRANCISCO -- The fans have spoken on behalf of Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper.
Next, many of the game's greatest voices shall be heard.
Kuiper was among the 10 finalists named Wednesday by the Baseball Hall of Fame for the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting.
Kuiper inspired the Giants to launch a get-out-the-vote campaign among fans, which proved to be successful. He was one of three finalists selected through online balloting at the Hall of Fame's Facebook site, along with Bay Area icon Bill King and Expos broadcaster Jacques Doucet. Nearly 21,000 votes were cast.
The other seven finalists -- Joe Castiglione, Ken Harrelson, Eric Nadel, Eduardo Ortega, Mike Shannon, Dewayne Staats and Pete van Wieren -- were chosen by a Hall of Fame research committee.
A 20-member panel, including 16 living Frick Award recipients, will elect the winner, who will be announced at baseball's Winter Meetings on Dec. 11. Kuiper said that he'll remain at peace regardless of the voting results.
"I look at this list, and all those guys deserve to go," said Kuiper, who has called games for 28 years, all but one with San Francisco. "That's why there won't be a mistake."
Kuiper meant that sincerely, being that he shares history with a number of other finalists. Castiglione, for example, was calling Cleveland Indians games when Kuiper broke in with them in 1974. Staats was the voice of the Oklahoma City 89ers, Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate, when Kuiper played for them.
Kuiper cherished the Giants' fan-balloting push, as well as the fans themselves who voted for him. "They'll never know how much I appreciate it," he said. But he believed it would have looked unseemly to participate in the venture.
"I'm not going to campaign or politick. I won't do it," said Kuiper, 63. "I will not get on a soapbox and say I need to be in the Hall of Fame. It doesn't sound good; it doesn't look good."
After all, Kuiper knows how a Frick Award winner should look or behave. He recalled that during the Giants' stop last month in Los Angeles, somebody asked him before a game to discuss his candidacy for the honor. Kuiper froze, instantly realizing that Vin Scully, the Dodgers icon who was the 1982 Frick recipient, was in an adjacent broadcast booth.
"It was hard for me even to think or talk about it, knowing that he was 10 feet away," Kuiper said. "Vin's 'the guy.' He's like Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams in the ballplayers' Hall of Fame."
In other words, Kuiper's thrilled just to be included in the conversation for the award.
"It really kind of takes my breath away," he said, "and if it doesn't happen, I will not be disappointed."