News, Sports

The “Voice Of The Blue Jays” Wins Prestigious Award

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The Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play
The Rogers Centre where the Blue Jays play. Image: Mike chernucha

Grown men have been known to tear up upon hearing the famous words: “Touch ’em all, Joe!”

They were spoken by Blue Jays’ baseball radio broadcaster Tom Cheek back in 1993.

Recently, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that the “voice of the Blue Jays” would receive the prestigious Ford C. Frick award for broadcasting excellence.

Many fans consider the award long overdue.

Cheek was part of the first Blue Jays radio broadcast. He continued to be the voice of the Blue Jays for 27 years. From his first game to his last, he never missed a game. He worked 4,306 games in a row–from April 1977 until June 2004.

Cheek also broadcast 41 playoff games.

Cheek experienced struggles in his early years. He was also witness to back-to-back World Series championships for the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993.

But topping it all was the call he made in 1993. Blue Jays outfielder Joe Carter had just hit a huge home run to win the World Series.

This is how Cheek announced it as Carter ran around the bases:

Touch ’em all Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!

That line captured the spirit of the game and the sense of the pride Cheek felt for his ball team. Today, his words still resonate in the hearts of Jays fans.

For generations of baseball fans across Canada, Cheek was the voice of summer. The voice of the Blue Jays.

Cheek will be honoured during Hall of Fame Weekend 2013, July 26-29 in Cooperstown, New York.

Tom Cheek passed away seven years ago from brain cancer. His widow, Shirley, heard the news of his big award when she got a phone call from the Hall of Fame president. She was in her doctor’s waiting room. Later she was asked by reporters how her husband would have reacted to winning the award. She said that he would have said there were more deserving people who should get the award.

There are a whole lot of baseball fans who would disagree.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
As Joe Carter ran around the bases, Tom Cheek said the famous words, “Touch ’em all, Joe!” What did he want Joe to make sure to touch? Why?

Reading Prompt: Analysing Texts
Analyse the text and explain how the journalist tied the concluding sentence to the opening statement.

Primary
Identify the main idea and some additional elements of texts (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Junior
Analyse texts and explain how various elements in them contribute to meaning (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Intermediate
Analyse a variety of texts, both simple and complex, and explain how the different elements in them contribute to meaning and influence the reader’s reaction (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Grammar Feature: Quotations
There are two quotations from Tom Cheek in this article. Read the article carefully and identify which two sentences are quotations. How do you know?

Why do you think each quotation has different grammar (one uses quotation marks and one uses indents)?