COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - The start came at Central Michigan.
And as the end nears, Dick Enberg has joined the giants of baseball broadcasting in earning the Ford C. Frick Award and his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Enberg, a 1957 CMU graduate who went on to become a 13-time Emmy-winning sports broadcaster, received the Frick award and was inducted into the broadcasters wing of the hall during a recent ceremony.
"I was inspired by the radio calls of the Detroit Tigers' radio broadcasters," Enberg said during his acceptance speech. "First Hall-of-Famer Harry Heilmann and then Van Patrick and his analyst, Hall of Famer Mel Ott and then, later the warm and wonderful Ernie Harwell."
Enberg was born in Mount Clemens and lived as a young child in California before returning with his family to Michigan as a 9-year-old. He spent his teenage years on the family farm in Armada, and got his start in broadcasting - he earned $1 an hour as a disc jockey -- as a CMU student.
He described in his acceptance speech how he teethed on a miniature baseball bat, the impression that his first trip to Tiger (then Briggs) Stadium left on him, and how, as a child, he would travel with his father to the Pantages Theatre in downtown Detroit to watch Hielmann sit in a glass booth and recreate Tiger games while reading the Western Union ticker tape when the team was playing on the road.
"My dad was already helping me hone my craft," Enberg said.
Enberg went on to earn scores of awards, was named the National Sportscaster of the Year nine times, is a member of several halls of fame, and has broadcast Super Bowls, U.S. Open tennis and golf, The Masters, the PGA Championship, Major League Baseball, college basketball, Wimbledon and the French Open. He is currently the play-by-play voice of the San Diego Padres.
The Frick Award is recognized as the highest honor a baseball broadcaster can earn. Past winners include Harwell, Vin Scully, Mel Allen and Harry Caray.