The late Al Helfer, a radio pioneer will be honored at next July’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony after being named the 2019 Ford C. Frick Award winner.
Helfer, who died in 1975 is the 43rd winner of the award which is presented annually to a broadcaster for making major contributions to baseball.
Helfer’s broadcasting career began in 1933 for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the age of 16. The soon to be Hall-of- Fame broadcaster went on to call games for the Reds, Yankees, Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Colt. 45’s and Athletics.
“Al Helfer helped grow interest in baseball exponentially as the voice of Mutual Game of the Day radio broadcasts during the sport’s golden days of the 1950s,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. “Working in the dominant broadcasting medium with television in its infancy, Helfer was known as ‘Mr. Radio Baseball,’ bringing game action into living rooms across the country every week. A true fan of the game, Helfer’s work with eight teams over four decades connected listeners in their markets to their team’s heroes, as baseball spread its reach throughout America and around the world. His passion and delivery made him one of the iconic voices of his era.”
During his career, Helfer called 14 no-hitters and memorable events which included Catfish Hunter’s 1968 perfect game and Bobby Thompson’s NL pennant winning homerun in 1951. Dubbed the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World,” Helfer was calling the game nationally for the Mutual network.
Other finalists for this year’s Ford C. Frick award were Connie Desmond, Pat Flanagan, Jack Graney, Harry Heilmann, Waite Hoyt, Rosey Rowswell and Ty Tyson. The 2019 Baseball Hall-of-Fame induction weekend will begin July 20th in Cooperstown, NY.