Better late than never, Hawk Harrelson receives the Frick Award

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 02: Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken 'The Hawk' Harrelson speaks on the podium on Hawk Day as he was honored by the White Sox before the game between the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox crowd on September 2, 2018 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

Hawk Harrelson won the Ford C. Frick Award back in December 2019. Thanks to the pandemic, he wasn’t able to receive it until Sunday, or “July 2021” if we’re keeping the date format consistent.

He didn’t get to experience the standard Induction Weekend pageantry, nor receive first-hand feedback from an appreciative crowd at Doubleday Field, but he still reported to Cooperstown to accept the honor in front of family and friends. If it’s any consolation, winning the award a year later wouldn’t have changed things, because he shared the stage with 2021 Frick honoree Al Michaels. Even Derek Jeter’s party will have a lot lower of a profile, as the Hall is hosting his induction on a September Wednesday in order to suppress the number of people who can descend upon the village. However it happened, Harrelson got his spotlight.

The last time he spoke at a podium for the public, it was for Hawk Day at Guaranteed Rate Field, and it wasn’t his best moment in front of a microphone. He worked without notes, and it resulted in a one-sided rehashing of the last 40 years of White Sox baseball, and 15 minutes gave him enough time to indulge some grievances that just weren’t appropriate for the day.

Harrelson gave himself an outline over nine minutes on Sunday. He produced a speech that reflected only love for the game, the craft, his family and the White Sox, although he’d probably lump in the fourth item as part of the third.

After two biographies, two documentaries and two victory-lap speeches, it’s clear that Hawk Harrelson is never truly going to bare Ken Harrelson’s soul. He shows what he wants you to see. That’s OK, provided he also keeps in mind what people want to see from him. The Frick Award was long overdue even for something that was long overdue, and I’m glad he was able to rise to the occasion. It was nice to see Steve Stone take the high road as well.

The last loose end is whether Harrelson will make an appearance that allows him to qualify for eight decades in professional baseball. He placed a lot of emphasis on reaching that milestone as he approached the end of his career, but he accepted the end of his road as an everyday broadcaster in 2018, and the combination of the pandemic and unrelated health issues have sidelined the talk of any possible pinch-hitting appearance 1½ years into the 2020s.

Considering he was the only person I’ve ever heard use that unit of measurement, another qualifying appearance isn’t necessary. He didn’t even need the Frick Award to validate the impact he made on the game, but now that he has officially accepted broadcasting’s highest honor, the pursuit of lesser titles might not hold the same importance anymore.

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire)

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Jason

As much as Hawkisms remain part of our white Sox baseball soundboard, I’m not sure I ever need to hear his voice again.

The last decade of hawk was mostly terrible and being replaced by Benetti, along with the chemistry he immediately developed with Stone, shows us how unnecessary it all was.

soxfan

I liked Hawk but don’t miss him. That said, I did appreciate the other day when the announcers (I don’t remember if it was the CSN crew or Fox) said, “You can cancel the postgame show.”

Foulkelore

Say what you will about Hawk as a broadcaster, and I pretty much agree with your post, but his Hawkisms will live on for a long time. I can’t refrain from saying, “Stretch!” in a Hawk voice when my dogs stretch their legs after getting up off the couch.

joewho112

Growing up with Hawk, I barely know what is a Hawkism and what’s standard jargon. Like did he invent “ducksnort”, “can of corn”, and “catbird seat”? But either way, the Hawkisms have permeated into the general lexicon.

Last edited 2 years ago by joewho112
Joliet Orange Sox

I think “can of corn” and “catbird seat” come from Red Barber.

I have only heard Barber announce baseball in old clips but I remember him well as a regular NPR contributor.

GrinnellSteve

Hawkisms abound at our house. When I squish a bug, “He gone!” When my daughter accomplishes something worthwhile (or not), “You can put it on the board, YYYESSS!!!” I’ll tell someone to “grab some bench.” I find myself calling, “Stretch!!” when a ball looks like it might have enough to get out.

His last few years were hard to listen to. I don’t know if it was the losing that wore him down or if he repeated stories about the game in his “time zone” because he an old man. I was ready for the change, but at his best, Hawk was one of the best. This is an honor he deserved.

Last edited 2 years ago by GrinnellSteve
Buehrlesque

I thought I was the only one who did that!

ParisSox

This. “ I find myself calling, “Stretch!!” when a ball looks like it might have enough to get out.”

Me too!

Jason

Same here. “Stretch” and “He gone” are phrases that are part of my daily jargon, not just for baseball.

The 90s era with Hawk and Wimpy (and the team) made me a fan for life.

Still, can’t say I have any nostalgia to hear his opinions on anything, including white Sox baseball.

joewho112

I was too young at the time but was Hawk the reason that Wimpy left? I loved Wimpy as a kid.

ParisSox

I don’t know, but in my mind I always thought it was because Wimpy was TOO goofy. He was great in limited doses but over a full season I don’t know. But I was young too so I may be misremembering.

joewho112

Burger goes down to make room for Eloy

jorgefabregas

Josh and Jim’s speculation was correct. Burger was sent down when Eloy was reinstated.

ParisSox

So happy for Burger’s year. Nobody thought in November he would contribute anything this year. Then to actually make it to the big leagues and rake – such a great story. Guy’s got nothing to hang his head about.

An aside, Charlotte has gotten a whole lot of fun to watch. Add Perez to that mix soon hopefully.

For me the Hawkisms really come out during a big game or a tense moment. My family just looks at me like I’m crazy as I sit there mumbling, “C’mon Gavin, one time”.

I loved the team of Hawk and Wimpy, and growing up in an area without a lot of Sox fans their banter served as a sort of Esperanto for my dad, brother and I. Like when my oldest son was born and I told them his middle name was Cecil. My dad said, “Wimpy’s body,” to which my brother immediately responded “friend.”

shaggy65

Ugh–the part of Hawk’s speech where he calls Reinsdorf “a man’s man”…