Al Michaels is best known for confirming that we should indeed believe in miracles with his iconic call of the final moments of the 1980 US Olympic hockey team’s upset of the Soviet Union.
He’s most recently known as the play-by-play voice of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” a role he has had since its inception in 2006.
But the depth and breadth of his broadcasting career are such that his time as a baseball play-by-play voice is not the first thing that comes to mind when considering his career, and yet he’s accomplished enough to win the most prestigious honor a baseball broadcaster can receive.
Michaels, first a voice of the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants in the ‘70s before going on to call some of the most compelling national baseball broadcasts of the last 40 years, was named the recipient of the 2021 Ford Frick Award Wednesday, given annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to honor broadcasting excellence.
He was selected for the award from a list of eight finalists whose main contributions came as national announcers. The Hall of Fame has a three-year rotation of honoring national announcers, announcers associated with a particular market, and broadcasting pioneers with the award.
The other finalists this year were Joe Buck, Dave Campbell, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, Ernesto Jerez, Buddy Blattner, and Dan Shulman.
Michaels’s most famous call came during the 1989 World Series, when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit the Bay Area before the start of Game 3 between the Giants and A’s.
Boston fans will best remember his call of Dave Henderson’s go-ahead home run in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 1986 ALCS between the Angels and Red Sox.
“To left field, and it’s deep, and Downing goes back … and it’s gone!’’ says Michaels, sounding as surprised as Red Sox fans were. “Unbelievable!”
Michaels will receive the Frick Award as part of the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2021.
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