Fantastic news for Kansas City Royals fans today: Denny Matthews has been announced as the winner of the Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
From the Royals website:
Matthews has been with the Royals since the franchise’s inception as an American League expansion team in 1969. He initially won the job after beating out more than 250 applicants for the No. 2 announcing position alongside veteran Bud Blattner.
I first started listening to Matthews calling Royals games when I was mowing the lawn as a kid. When I moved to Los Angeles seven years ago, I began listening to the Royals games over the internet and really discovered what a great play by play man he is.
Here are my two favorite Denny moments:
1.) During a Royals-Rangers game, the announcers were discussing Nolan Ryan and his accomplishments as a player. They talked about the strike outs and the no hitters and then Matthews finally chimed in that his favorite moment was when Robin Ventura charged the mound and Ryan put him in a headlock and basically showed him who the boss was.
Matthews doesn’t sugar coat things. That’s everybody’s favorite memory of Nolan Ryan and he didn’t pretend otherwise.
2.) During the magical run towards respectability in 2003, the Royals were about to lose to the Seattle Mariners in the second game since coming back from the All Star Break. Mike MacDougal had come in to save a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning, but walked a few batters, gave up a few singles and was facing Ichiro Suzuki with the bases loaded.
Ichiro drove the ball to right field and Matthews started yelling, “Come on wind! Come on wind!”
It was a grand slam and the Royals lost the game.
Matthews is most often criticized for not showing enough emotion during a game. To me, this is his greatest quality. Routine grounders are treated like routine grounders. Likewise with lazy fly balls and singles over the second base bag.
When it really counts, Denny’s voice will rise, and he will shout at the wind to help his team win, just like a great flagship announcer should.
Congratulations, Denny. You belong in Cooperstown.
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