Miller's dream culminates with Frick Award
Giants announcer honored at Hall of Fame induction ceremony
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Just as Andre Dawson stood on stage at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony and told the audience he grew up wanting to be like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, 2010 Ford C. Frick Award winner Jon Miller spoke about how his idols in broadcasting led him to Cooperstown.
Miller grew up a Giants fan in the San Francisco Bay Area, listening to past Frick Award winners Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons call games.
When he was a kid, his father took him to a baseball game at Candlestick Park, where Miller spent more time looking into the announcers' booth through his binoculars than the action on the field.
On Sunday afternoon during his acceptance speech, Miller told the crowd a story about what he saw that day. The visiting announcer grabbed a handful of French fries and never missed a beat between calling ball two and ball three.
"As a 10-year-old, I sat there and I thought, 'That is the life for me,'" Miller said.
In 1974, at the age of 22, Miller got his first job calling games for the Oakland A's, starting a long career that doesn't look to be ending any time soon.
After stints calling Rangers and Orioles games, Miller eventually returned to his roots in 1997, becoming the voice of the Giants. In 1990, he began doing national television and radio broadcasts for ESPN, teaming with Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan on Sunday Night Baseball telecasts.
"Jon Miller became the voice of baseball during an era of unprecedented growth," said Morgan, who introduced Miller on Saturday.
Miller has called 13 World Series in his career, received various Emmy Award nominations and was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in 1998.
Upon receiving his first job, the announcer who preceded him was dismissed for not being interesting enough when nothing was happening, so Miller said he exaggerated even the most basic of plays in hopes of distancing himself from his predecessor.
It didn't work. Miller was gone after one season.
He bounced back and developed his own style, which includes emphatic "Safe!" and "That ball is foul" calls as well as incorporating Spanish and Japanese phrases for players with ethnic backgrounds.
Miller is the 34th recipient of the Frick Award, which has been given out since 1978, joining such legends as Vin Scully, Harry Caray and Bob Uecker.
It is a class that Miller is honored to be included in, even if he never expected it.
"I just wanted a job where I could eat French fries while I was working, and here I am today," Miller said.
Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.