One-time Red Sox player and broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson has made it to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On Wednesday Harrelson was named 2020 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award, which recognizes excellence in baseball broadcasting. Harrelson, 78, retired after the 2018 season having spent 33 years as the voice of White Sox television.
Harrelson played nine big league seasons starting in 1963 with the Kansas City Athletics. As a free agent in 1967 he signed with the Red Sox and homered against the Yankees in his first Sox plate appearance. In his following All-Star season Harrelson became the sixth Boston player to homer three times in a game, and the first for the club to do it in consecutive plate appearances.
Boston traded Harrelson to the Indians early in 1969 as part of a package that yielded Joe Azcue, Vicente Romo and Sonny Siebert.
Into the Broadcast Booth
After his playing days Harrelson transitioned to broadcasting, returning to Boston from 1975 to 1981 for Sox coverage on WSBK-TV 38. He went on to cover the White Sox (1982-85), spent a tumultuous 1986 season as General Manager of the Pale Hose (during which time he fired both manager Tony La Russa and assistant general manager Dave Dombrowski), before getting back behind the mic for the Yankees (1987-88). He returned to Chicago to stay in 1990 for televised play-by-play duties.
Harrelson is the 44th winner of the Frick Award. In the Hall of Fame he’ll be in the company of former White Sox broadcasters Jack Brickhouse (1983), Harry Caray (1989), Bob Elson (1979) and Milo Hamilton (1992). Harrelson joins Joe Garagiola (1991), Bob Uecker (2003), Jerry Coleman (2005), Tony Kubek (2009) and Tim McCarver (2012) as the only former Major League ballplayers to win the Frick Award.
Current Red Sox radio voice, Joe Castiglione, was also nominated for this year’s award.