Margalus: Hawk Harrelson’s way with words worthy of recognition

From SABR member Jim Margalus at Sox Machine on December 12, 2019:

[Hawk] Harrelson isn’t a neat fit for the Frick Award’s description as a recognition of “excellence in baseball broadcasting,” at least in the classical sense. He wasn’t excellent at relaying the details of a game to an audience that wasn’t watching. He was excellent at letting White Sox fans know how much they should be enjoying a game at a given time. That’s not textbook “excellence,” but his choice to turn White Sox baseball into a more refined version of a Texas high school football broadcast worked, and baseball is richer for it.

Now let’s get back to “slapdick.”

While there’s been plenty of Hawkcentric media published over the decade, his willingness to make a caricature of himself makes him difficult to assess. An autobiography and two documentaries added up to three hagiographies, because they’re all short on introspection and deep personal connections. His version of speaking from the heart during his Hawk Day speech resulted in an off-the-cuff one-sided book report on the Jerry Reinsdorf era of White Sox baseball, which makes me hope that he writes down what he wants to say about the Frick Award.

It’s frustrating, because it’s a superficial treatment to a style that gets written off as shtick. The strongest argument behind Harrelson as an award-winning broadcaster is that White Sox fans often slip into Hawkisms while discussing baseball, and without effort or thought.

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Originally published: December 12, 2019. Last Updated: December 12, 2019.