MILWAUKEE — Ken ‘‘Hawk’’ Harrelson entered the broadcast wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, with a colorful speech extolling the virtues of the game that was his life for parts of eight decades and expressing thanks to the people who mean the most to him, none more than his family.
‘‘I’ve had a great career, and I’ve been blessed,’’ Harrelson, 79, said. ‘‘I was a great athlete, and I had some great help in the booth.’’
Harrelson was the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented annually to a broadcaster for ‘‘major contributions to baseball.’’ He broadcast games for 42 years, 33 of them for the Sox, after a nine-year playing career.
‘‘Baseball is a game of memories and heroes,’’ he said. ‘‘The beauty of the game is the game itself. It’s the most beautiful game we have ever seen. Not played against a clock and the defensive team controls the ball.
‘‘Somebody wrote that Vin Scully was a play-by-play guy who told stories and wrote that Hawk Harrelson was a storyteller who did play-by-play.’’
Harrelson hailed Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who was in attendance — along with Sox radio analyst Darrin Jackson and longtime Sox senior director of broadcasting and business development Bob Grim — as the best owner in sports. He asked his wife, Aris, one of 23 family members who accompanied him to Cooperstown, to stand up.
‘‘Want to tell you about my heroes, and there is one right there, my beautiful wife, Aris,’’ Harrelson said.
He concluded his speech with his favorite toast.
‘‘I gave this at Arnold Palmer’s 80th birthday,’’ Harrelson said. ‘‘He said, ‘Thank you, Hawk.’ When you take a man’s money, you take a man’s money. But when you take a man’s time, you take a part of his life. And I want to thank you all for parts of eight decades for your time. Thank you very much.’’
Harrelson was the 2020 Frick winner. Also honored Saturday, in an event held at an opera theater about 15 minutes from the Hall of Fame and broadcast Sunday, were 2021 Frick winner Al Michaels, Baseball Writers Association of America career excellence winners Dick Kaegel and Nick Cafardo and 2020 Buck O’Neil lifetime achievement award winner David Montgomery.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring the 2020 class of Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Cooperstown.