Joe Garagiola Sr. Receives The Buck O Neil Lifetime Achievement Award


Mar 31, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks former broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr prior to the game against the San Francisco Giants during opening day baseball game at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Eve Dbacks Nation! While the Braves, and the city of Atlanta Georgia might have the most representation tomorrow in Cooperstown, the Diamondbacks will have plenty of representation. Joe Garagiola Sr, became just the third person to receive the Buck O Neil Lifetime Achievement Award today at a ceremony held at DoubleDay Field.

Garagiola couldn’t not be at the ceremony because of health related issues but did send a video message for the crowd at DoubleDay Field. This is what he said in the message according to “Some of you may be wondering why I’m not with you today,” said Garagiola as part of his video message. “I had a double-hip [operation], I suffered a stroke on October 2nd, and a heart attack on December 23rd. It was a tough Christmas. When I asked my doctors about coming to Cooperstown, they sounded like a chorus. They said, ‘Joe, you aren’t strong enough yet.’ I was disappointed. I still am. My family’s disappointed. But I really appreciate this honor more than you know.”

Garagiola is known as one of Major League Baseball’s best personalities. He is a former player, author, and broadcaster. The author of “Baseball is a Funny Game.” has been to the Hall before. In 1991, he won the Ford C Frick Award, given to a legendary broadcaster. He talked about the Hall and Cooperstown in his video message:

“The Hall of Fame is the magic phrase,” said Garagiola in deference to the many Hall of Famers in attendance at Doubleday Field. “It’s what a player wants next to his name once he gets to the big leagues. And baseball gives you the chance. You do it. They give you the bat, the ball, and it’s up to you. As you look at these Hall of Famers, you can say, ‘You did it, and this is your weekend.'”

“Most players don’t make it,” he said of Cooperstown. “Most of these players were either All-City, All-State, All-World, All-Everything. And then they went to the big leagues and had great years. Then there are players like me. I was scouted! I really was. … I thought about the Hall of Fame, but the decision was made early for me. See, I grew up in an Italian neighborhood, and I lived across the street from a guy named Yogi Berra. I really wasn’t even the best player on my block. When I saw the way these great players hit and pitched, I knew the only way I could get into the Hall of Fame was to buy a ticket.”

Garagiola played with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburg Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and New York Giants over an 8 year career that spanned from 1946 to 1954. He spent all of his years in the big leagues behind the dish as a catcher.

He is the author of two other books about baseball including “It’s Anybody’s Ballgame”, and “Just Play Ball.”

He is probably most known for his career as a broadcaster. He called Cardinals games on KMOX from 1955 to 1962. He is best known for his almost 30 year association with NBC calling the National Game of the Week with various brodcasters including Bob Wolf, Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek, and Vin Scully. He also called World Series telecasts on NBC Radio.

He of course had recently done broadcasts for the Snakes where his son Joe Garagiola Jr served as general manager for a brief time. He announced his retirement from broadcasting on February 22 2013. He still attends Dbacks games, and is active in the Phoenix area community.

Joe clearly deserves this award, and we wish him the best in all of his future endeavors.

One Note: Nick Evans is still a Diamondback according to Steve Gilbert of MLB Trade Rumors had originally reported that Evans signed with the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, but a deal was never finalized. This could change in the coming days as talks are still ongoing.