I remember the first time I met Joe Mcgrane outside of a baseall uniform. It was here in St Petersburg at a local watering hole and Mcgrane was pitching for the St. Petersburg Cardinals of the Florida State League at that time. I remember the quick and dry wit of Joe and thought he might be an interesting broadcaster some day.
Little did I know that Mcgrane would again come back to St. Petersburg after a long and properous baseball career to form a dynamic duo with Dwayne Staats broadcasting the Tampa Bay Rays games. So it is with great pride and honor that I lket you, the Rays fans know that MLB and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, have nominated Four current Rays broadcasters for the Ford C. Frick Award.
Current on-air Television talents’ DeWayne Staats, Joe Magrane, Todd Kalas and Radio’s golden tonsils, Dave Wills are in the running for the prestigious award.
Balloting for the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence is going on now, with the top three recipients of fan votes automatically qualifying for the 10-person ballot that will be formulated by a 20-member committee and announced Oct. 6.
The winner will be announced Dec. 9 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and will receive the award during an induction ceremony on July 26, 2009, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. Fans may vote for up to three of their favorites among 210 broadcasters eligible in balloting conducted exclusively on the Hall’s Web site, baseballhalloffame.org, which will carry biographical sketches of each candidate. Fans can vote once a day throughout September. Results will be announced when voting concludes Sept. 30.
Here are the Rays nominees for this great honor:
Dewayne anchors the Emmy Award-winning telecast in this, his 32nd season broadcasting Major League baseball and his 11th with the Rays. In 2003, he celebrated 4,000 Major League broadcasts. Before joining the Rays, he spent three years calling play-by-play for ESPN in a variety of sports, including the MLB and NCAA baseball, basketball and football. He began his Major League play-by-play career as the radio and TV voice of the Houston Astros from 1977-84, then called radio and TV action for the Chicago Cubs from 1985-89. He was the lead play-by-play announcer for the New York Yankees carried by the MSG-TV network from 1990-94, and spent the 1994 and 1995 seasons calling the action for The Baseball Network (ABC/NBC). Staats began his career as a sports reporter for WSIE Radio while a student at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and began his baseball career as the radio voice of the Oklahoma City 89ers (1973-74). In 1975 and ’76 he was sports director at KPLR-TV in St. Louis and received an Emmy nomination. A 1975 graduate of SIU-Edwardsville, Dewayne earned Distinguished Alumnus-of-the-Year honors in 1987 and was recently listed among baseball’s top 101 all-time announcers by author Curt Smith. He is married to the former Carla Berry and has two daughters, Stephanie Wheeler (30) and Alexandra (24), and grandsons Gabriel (3) and Zachary, born in December
Joe returns as television color analyst for the Rays in 2008, his 11th season with the club. He also appears on numerous FOX Network telecasts. In 2002, he served as postgame reporter for the National League Championship Series. Joe was a color analyst for NBC’s baseball coverage of the last two summer Olympic Games: 2000 in Sydney, Australia and 2004 in Athens, Greece. Before coming to the Rays, the 10-year Major League veteran worked as an analyst on regional ESPN Major League games in 1997 and worked with Rays play-by-play man Dewayne Staats on ESPN’s coverage of the College World Series. An All-America selection at the U. of Arizona in 1985, Magrane compiled a 56-67 Major League record with the St. Louis Cardinals (1987-93), California Angels (1993-95), and Chicago White Sox (1996). He finished third in the 1987 NL Rookie of the Year voting, helping lead the Cardinals to the World Series. He won the ERA title in 1988 while with the Cards (2.18) and the following year won 18 games, placing third in the NL Cy Young voting. His nephew, Jim, is a pitcher in the Nationals’ system. He and his wife, Renee, have two daughters, Shannon and Sophia, and reside in Tampa
Todd begins his 11th season with the Rays and 16th in the Major Leagues. Kalas returns as pregame host and in-game reporter for every Rays telecast on Fox Sports Net Florida and the Rays Television Network. In addition, he hosts “Inside the Rays” on FSN. He has also filled in with play-by-play and color on both the Rays television and radio networks. Prior to joining the Rays, Kalas worked on the radio broadcast team of the New York Mets (1992-1993) and the television broadcast team of the Philadelphia Phillies (1994-1996). After graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University in 1988, he moved to the Tampa Bay area as sports director at Vision Cable in Clearwater before beginning his baseball career with the Louisville Redbirds in 1991. In the offseason, Kalas has worked the last five years with Cox Sports Television in Louisiana handling play-by-play of college basketball, football, baseball and arena football. In addition, he is an announcer for USF basketball games and also fills in as pregame host for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Todd is the son of longtime Phillies broadcaster, Harry Kalas, a 2002 Hall of Fame inductee.
Dave begins his fourth season in the Rays radio booth. He came to Tampa Bay having spent 11 seasons as part of the Chicago White Sox radio broadcast team hosting the pre- and postgame shows and filling in for John Rooney in the booth when necessary. His first play-by-play action came with the Class-A Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League from 1991-95 where he was the franchise’s first radio voice. He was the radio voice of University of Illinois-Chicago men’s basketball from 1997-2005 and served as a play-by-play announcer for various high school basketball and football games on Comcast Network-Chicago as well as the lead anchor for the network’s highlight show, Sports Weekly from 2000-2005. He also appeared as the pre- and postgame show host for Notre Dame football and basketball as well as the co-host of the Kevin White Show while with ESPN Radio 1000 in Chicago for nine years before joining TB. Wills served as the pitching coach/recruiting coordinator with Elmhurst College (Ill.) in 1989 and as the interim head coach at the University of Chicago in 1990. He owns bachelor’s degrees in Speech Communication and Urban Studies from Elmhurst where he played ball for three years. Dave and his wife, Elizabeth, have a son, Alex and a daughter, Michelle; they reside in Lutz, Fla.
So go on the Hall of Fame website today and vote for your favorite broadcaster nominated for the Frick Award. Remember, all voting will be final as of September 30th, 2008. So vote as often as you can to get one of our award winning Rays’ broadcasters in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in 2009.