Akron’s Ocker, Costas honored in Cooperstown


Associated Press

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y.

It’s been 44 years since sportscaster Bob Costas visited the Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time. Now, he’s got a permanent place in the shrine.

Costas, who began his announcing career in the 1970s while a student at Syracuse University, was honored Saturday with the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters in a ceremony at Doubleday Field.

“My first trip to the Hall of Fame came on a summer day in 1974 when Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford entered the Hall,” Costas said during his acceptance speech.

“Since then, I’ve happily returned many times, but this one feels a bit different. I stand here as thrilled and excited as a kid attending his first big league game, but now I bring with me a lifetime of baseball memories.”

Sheldon Ocker, who covered the Cleveland Indians for 33 years (1981-2013) for the Akron Beacon Journal before retiring in January 2014, was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers.

“The first time I visited the Hall of Fame was during the strike of 1981,” said Ocker, who served as president of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in 1985.

“I did it to keep baseball in the sports pages while the owners and the players’ union waited to see who would blink first. I had my children with me. They enjoyed the museum, but not as much as me. I was a kid in a candy store. I never dreamed that a tiny corner of that candy store would someday be reserved for me.”

After graduating from Syracuse in 1974, Costas landed a job at KMOX radio in St. Louis calling games for the American Basketball Association’s Spirits of St. Louis. He then handled NBA and NFL games for CBS before moving to NBC Sports in 1980.

He’s done postseason playoffs and pregame duties at the All-Star Game, as well as several World Series.

In 2009, he joined MLB Network and calls games and hosts an interview show. He also served as prime-time host of 12 Olympic Games from 1992-2016 and is the winner of 28 Emmy Awards.

Former Cleveland Indians first baseman Jim Thome will be inducted into the Hall of Fame today.

Thome, who slugged 612 home runs, will be joined by third baseman Chipper Jones, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, closer Trevor Hoffman and pitcher Jack Morris and shortstop Alan Trammell, who are former Detroit Tigers teammates.

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