Tom Cheek, the original and long-time voice of the Toronto Blue Jays, has been awarded the 2013 Ford C. Frick award for broadcasting excellence by the Baseball Hall of Fame. This announcement means that Cheek will take his rightful place in the broadcasters wing in Cooperstown later on this summer. Cheek, who died in 2005, called the first 4,306 regular-season and 41 post-season games in Blue Jays history, beginning with Toronto’s inaugural season in 1977.
For someone like myself Tom Cheek was the voice of summer. I consider myself lucky enough to grow up in a time where every game wasn’t on television. It was on the radio where I learned to love the Toronto Blue Jays and Tom Cheek’s voice was largely responsible for painting the pictures that I saw in my mind. Whether I had the game on my AM walkman at night or whether the game was on in my Grandparents backyard while I was flopping around in the pool, Tom Cheek was there time and time again.
I was lucky enough to meet Tom Cheek once while my family was following the Jays on a Western trip through Texas back in 1992. My aunt Kimmie was quite persistent to get me this meeting while we were waiting out a rain delay (a game in which was ultimately canceled due to the poor weather conditions costing me a chance to see Nolan Ryan toe the rubber) and she sweet talked a security guard to let us up into the booth. Tom Cheek came out of an elevator and he introduced himself to me. It was pretty sureal to have him utter my name in his booming voice.
To this day I get chills hearing his call of Joe Carter’s series ending homer off Mitch Williams. Thanks to the technology available I offer you the chance to hear it over and over again.
As per usual I’ll defer to the more talented and post up a better option for you all to peruse. Check out this great article from the National Post about Tom Cheek’s induction featuring comments from his wife and his broadcast partner Jerry Howarth.