- Last Updated on Sunday, 30 June 2019 01:40
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has given the Frick award since 1978. The award for this year is especially focused on a baseball broadcasting pioneer.
Al Helfer was the only person to broadcast for all three New York City teams including the Giants, Yankees, and Dodgers. Helfer will be recognized posthumously at the Awards Presentation Saturday, July 20, 2019 in Cooperstown.
Al began his professional career in 1933 by rebroadcasting Pittsburgh Pirate games with Rosie Roswell on radio. From 1950 – 1954, Al broadcast the first national radio baseball games for the Mutual “Game of the Day.” He reached about sixty-five percent of the baseball audience. In the early 1950s he became known as "Mr. Radio Baseball" as well as the authoritative voice of baseball. Al had that cheerful hearty, deep voice of the big 6-foot-4 burly man he was. As well his voice had a neighborly style of describing the great game.
During his career he broadcast seven World Series and fourteen no-hitters. From 1955 through 1957 he broadcast Dodger games with Vin Scully. “Hal was a gentile, nice and wonderful man,” said Scully recently. “His character came through over the air, to the point where you would like him instinctively. So many of us in baseball thought the world of him.”
His last year of broadcasting was 1969 with the Oakland Athletics and his partner Monte Moore. “I think his voice was one of the best big-league baseball ever heard,” recalled Moore. “And his pacing was so good in describing things. He wasn’t a yeller, but his enthusiasm came across for a big play.” He passed away in 1975 at age 63 and it was estimated he had traveled more than 5 million miles in his career.
Al Helfer never forgot the Mid Mon Valley or Monongahela. He was born September 26, 1911 in Elrama and grew up on Jackson Street in Monongahela. Al was a 1929 graduate of Monongahela High School where he was an outstanding athlete; lettering in football, basketball and track and field. He earned a football and basketball scholarship to Washington and Jefferson College. For many years Al gave a trophy and scholarship to an outstanding Monongahela High School athlete.