Tom Cheek named Frick award finalist

Former Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek is one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award.

Cheek, who died this October, was a finalist for the 2005 award won by Jerry Coleman.

The award is given annually at the baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for excellence in broadcasting. It is named after Hall of Famer Ford C. Frick, a renowned sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and baseball commissioner.

The other finalists are Ken Coleman, Dizzy Dean, Jacques Doucet, Gene Elston, Bill King, former Blue Jays colour commentator Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Graham McNamee and Dave Niehaus.

The winner will be announced on Feb. 21, and honoured during the 2006 Hall of Fame weekend next July.

Cheek died on Oct. 9 at the age of 66 after a long battle with brain cancer.

Cheek had called every Blue Jays game since their inception in 1977 until learning of his father's death on June 3, 2004.

He missed that night's broadcast to join his family in Salinas, Calif., ending a 27 1/2 year streak of 4,306 consecutive regular-season games plus 41 post-season games.

Ten days after his father died, Cheek underwent an operation to remove a brain tumour on the same day he turned 65.

After the surgery, he continued to undergo chemotherapy treatment and returned to the broadcast booth.

Last August, the Blue Jays inducted Cheek into the Level of Excellence, the club's highest award for individual achievement.

An old fashioned announcer who avoided gimmicks and catchphrases, Cheek had a knack for brilliantly capturing key moments in the game.

His famous call of Joe Carter's 1993 World Series winning home run – "Touch 'em all Joe, you'll never hit a bigger home run in your life" – was, perhaps, his finest moment in broadcasting.

with files from Canadian Press