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Blattner headlines KC Frick nominees

Blattner headlines KC Frick nominees

KANSAS CITY -- In 2007, Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews was the Ford C. Frick Award winner and was honored at the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at Cooperstown, N.Y.

This year, Buddy Blattner, who was Matthews' original partner in the Royals broadcast booth, again is among the Kansas City voices being considered for the prestigious award.

Blattner was the Royals' play-by-play announcer when the franchise began play in 1969, and he teamed with the young Matthews until 1975. But his credits range far beyond Kansas City.

Blattner began with the Liberty Game of the Day in 1949, and he also called games for the Mutual, ABC, CBS and NBC networks as well as for the St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Angels in a career that ran through 1969.

"He was kind of a pioneer," Matthews said "He was one of the first guys to go from the field to the booth. Look how many guys have followed that path. And, in a sense, he was a pioneer on the Game of the Week, because he and Dizzy Dean made that very popular."

A former infielder for the Cardinals, Giants and Phillies, Blattner was noted for his collaboration with Hall of Fame pitcher Dean on early network telecasts. Retired for many years, Blattner, 88, lives in St. Louis.

"I couldn't have had a better guy to sit down and work with, just breaking in as I did," Matthews said. "It was a perfect setup for me."

Another former player, Paul Splittorff, also is among the Kansas City nominees. He is in his 21st season as a television analyst for the Royals, his only team as a pitcher.

He draws on his expertise as the Royals' all-time winning pitcher with 166 victories in 429 games during a 15-year playing career.

Others nominated from KC broadcasting:

Fred White was Matthews' partner in the radio booth from 1975-98, and he still does voice work for the club. White now is the Royals' director of broadcast services and Royals alumni.

Ryan Lefebvre has been calling games for 14 years, the last 10 with the Royals. After teaming with Matthews, beginning in 1999, he moved into the TV booth this year.

Bob Davis, who is in his 12th season with the Royals, joined Matthews in the radio booth after 11 years on TV. He's also well known as the voice of the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

Steve Busby did TV games for the Royals in 1996 and logged more than 14 years with the Texas Rangers. Like Splittorff, he's a pitcher in the Royals Hall of Fame.

Monte Moore broadcast Kansas City A's games, starting in 1962. He moved with the club to Oakland in 1968 and didn't miss a game for 16 years with the A's.

Denny Trease handled 13 seasons of play-by-play for the Royals television network, 1980-92.

Balloting for the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence begins Sept. 1, and the top three vote-getters by the fans automatically qualify for the 10-member ballot that will be formulated by a 20-member committee and announced on Oct. 6. The winner will be announced on Dec. 9 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and will receive the award during the induction ceremony on July 26, 2009, at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Fans may vote for up to three of their favorites among 210 broadcasters eligible in balloting conducted exclusively on the Hall's Web site, baseballhalloffame.org, which will carry biographical sketches of each candidate. Fans can vote up to once a day throughout September. Results will be announced when voting concludes Sept. 30. There will be no updates provided during the voting period.

Dave Niehaus, the long-time voice of the Seattle Mariners, was the recipient at the 2008 induction in July, which marked the 30th anniversary of the award that was first presented to legendary figures Mel Allen and Red Barber. The award was named for the late broadcaster, National League President, Commissioner and Hall of Famer. Frick was a driving force behind the creation of the Hall of Fame, and he helped foster the relationship between radio and the game of baseball.

The three broadcasters named to the ballot last year through online voting were the Cincinnati Reds' Joe Nuxhall, the Oakland Athletics' Bill King and Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan of "Sunday Night Baseball." The other nominees selected by the 20-member committee were former "Game of the Week" broadcasters Dean and Tony Kubek; play-by-play voices Tom Cheek (Toronto Blue Jays), Ken Coleman (Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox), Dave Van Horne (Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins) and broadcasting legend Graham McNamee (NBC), who called 12 World Series beginning in 1923.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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