HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have announced the five nominees for induction into the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor. All five esteemed media members were nominated by fellow colleagues in the industry. The 2020 nominees are KCOH radio host Ralph Cooper, AT&T SportsNet SW broadcaster Kevin Eschenfelder, former Houston Post beat writer Kenny Hand, MLB.com correspondent Richard Justice and former Colt .45s and early Astros beat writer Clark Nealon.
The Astros began the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor in 2007, when Anita Martini was chosen as the inaugural inductee. She’s been followed by Gene Elston (2008), Neil Hohlfeld (2009), Mickey Herskowitz (2010), Bill Brown (2011), Milo Hamilton (2012), Rene Cardenas (2013), Alex Treviño (2014), Harry Shattuck (2015), Mark Berman (2016), Bob Allen (2017), Karen Warren (2018) and Larry Dierker (2019).
All media that have been credentialed to cover an Astros game this season may vote for a nominee by emailing Steve Grande ([email protected]) in the Astros Communications Department. Take note, each media member is only allowed one vote in this process, which will be kept confidential.
Votes must be submitted no later than Friday, Sept. 25.
Cooper, one of Houston’s longtime on-air personalities, has been covering the Houston Sports scene at KCOH radio for over 35 years. A native Houstonian, Cooper began his career as a journalist at the Houston Forward Times before moving to KYOK Radio in 1973. In 1984, Cooper moved to his longtime home at KCOH 1230 AM, where he has been a Houston staple ever since. His long and successful career in radio earned him an induction into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame as part of the 2020 class. Cooper can be heard daily on his sports talk show, Sports Rap, every Monday through Friday from 5-7 p.m. on KCOH 1230 AM.
Eschenfelder, a native Houstonian, is in his 24th season as the Astros pre and postgame host for their television rightsholder. Now in his 30th year working in the Houston media market, Eschenfelder got his start in 1991 at Fox Sports Net, covering all three of Houston’s major professional sports teams. He began hosting the Astros and Rockets pre and postgame shows in 1997 for Fox Sports Southwest, before continuing in that role for FS Houston, Comcast SportsNet Houston and AT&T SportsNet Southwest. In addition to his current pre and postgame duties for Astros games, Eschenfelder fills in on the Astros television broadcasts as a play-by-play announcer. A graduate of the University of Houston, Eschenfelder has been the radio voice of the University of Houston Football team since 2013.
Hand, a longtime newspaper man, worked 18 years at the Houston Post, including eight years on the Astros beat (1977-1984) and 10 years as a columnist before the Houston Post folded in 1995. He then moved over to radio and was on sports talk radio in Houston for another eight years (1995-2003) with various outlets, including KPRC, SportsRadio 610 and KTRH. For 20 years, he was a regular on Channel 13’s Extra Points show. Hand has been a long-time voting member of the Texas Sports Hall of Fame. He joined Texas Links golf magazine as Director of Advertising when the magazine began in 2005 and is now an associate publisher.
Justice, MLB.com’s executive correspondent since 2011, covers the top stories in Major League Baseball. Justice has covered MLB for over 30 years, including 11 years with the Houston Chronicle (2001-11), most of them spent as the lead sports columnist. He also spent time covering the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles with The Dallas Times Herald, The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun. A well-known figure in the national media, Justice often appears on national programs for ESPN and MLB Network.
Nealon, a pioneer of professional baseball in Houston, covered the sport for parts of five decades from the 1930’s until his retirement in 1974. He entered and retired from the Houston media as the sports editor at the Houston Post, with his time at the Post being interrupted by stints in the armed services and with the Houston Press. During his time in the Houston media, Nealon covered the minor league Houston Buffs until Major League Baseball came to Houston in 1962. He was among the first group of Houston-area writers to be at Apache Junction for the Colt .45s inaugural Spring Training. The 1991 recipient of the Fred Hartman Long and Meritorious Award, Nealon passed away in 1992 at the age of 83.