Giants fans know that Jon Miller rarely, if ever, is at a loss for words.Yet, he headed for Cooperstown, N.Y., unsure of exactly what he'll say when he's honored for winning baseball broadcasting's biggest honor. Miller, this year's Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting excellence, said this week that he hadn't prepared the remarks he'll deliver on Sunday -- though he has pondered them repeatedly. "I've written a speech in my head about 50 times, sitting on a long flight or driving home from the ballpark," Miller said, adding dryly, "A few of them I know were really, really good." Miller's certain about one aspect of his speech.
"I'd like it to be on the short side so people would wish I kept going," said Miller, who's widely known as the play-by-play commentator on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball besides being the Giants' lead announcer.During the Giants' series at Los Angeles earlier this week, Dodgers broadcasting legend Vin Scully reminded Miller that listeners on Sunday will expect much from him. Players who become Hall of Fame inductees, Scully pointed out, don't have to be eloquent. After all, they were players, not wordsmiths.
"But a professional broadcaster has to get it just right," Miller said, relating Scully's message.Miller also had multiyear broadcasting tenures with the Texas Rangers (1978-79), Boston Red Sox (1980-82) and Baltimore Orioles (1983-96). But Miller's baseball roots are with the Giants. So one can assume that when he does get around to finalizing his speech, he'll find a way to mention two of the Giants' previous Frick Award winners, Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons, along with the franchise's finest player, Willie Mays. Miller grew up in Hayward, Calif., rooting for the Giants and glued to the radio as Hodges and Simmons fueled his ardor for the game. Meanwhile, Mays was establishing himself as a sports legend. Miller recalled that when he was informed of his Frick Award good fortune on Feb. 1, Hodges, Simmons and Mays were the first people who flooded his mind. Hodges and Simmons, said Miller, "taught me the game and the history and tradition of the Giants." As for Mays, added Miller, "He did these amazing things; it was almost as if you couldn't help but be a fan. Those three made me a fan and made me love the game." Miller hasn't completely grasped that he'll essentially be joining baseball's immortals. Though he'll be represented in the shrine's broadcasters' wing, he'll forever be considered as much as a Hall of Famer as Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb. "I guess that part of it hasn't really sunk in yet," said Miller, the 35th Frick Award recipient. "I'm very honored and excited about it, but at the same time, I think the whole concept of it is so overwhelming, I haven't been able to get my mind wrapped around it, I guess." Miller will have a huge cheering section consisting of about 80 relatives and friends, as well as a sizable delegation from the Giants. "I'm just trying to ride with it and enjoy it at the same time," Miller said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.