Bob Costas pays tribute to KMOX and St. Louis in Hall of Fame speech

In his 32-minute address at Doubleday Field, Costas took a moment to thank his adopted hometown.

Tom Ackerman
July 29, 2018 - 8:27 am
Bob Costas receives the Ford C. Frick Award at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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COOPERSTOWN, NY (KMOX) -- On a sun-kissed day in this peaceful upstate village, Bob Costas accepted the Ford C. Frick Award with a 32-minute speech that took attendees at Doubleday Field on a trip through baseball history.

Related story: Baseball Connected Bob Costas to his Dad 

Costas, touching on the Hall of Fame legends of the game sitting behind him, gave a detailed recount of Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series. He spoke highly of Vin Scully and Dick Enberg, the first two members of "the club" to call him with congratulations. It was the last conversation he had with Enberg before his death, he said.

Costas roasted longtime friend Bob Uecker. He praised Tony Kubek -- his first television partner at NBC -- for vouching for him in the baseball fraternity. And he made a passioned case for his current MLB Network analyst, Jim Kaat, for induction.

But the KMOX alum, who began his career in St. Louis in 1974 at the age of 22, also took the time to highlight the city he calls his hometown. Costas grew up in New York. But as a 12-year-old kid sitting in his father's car, monitoring the games on AM radio, he would land on radio stations through the static:

"And on those evenings when the atmospheric conditions were just right, KMOX would magically appear out of St. Louis, bringing with it the dynamic pairing of Harry Caray and Jack Buck, each distinctively great. Harry, booming and bombastic, a showman. Jack, sophisticated and more restrained, possessed of a dry wit and a wide broadcasting range that included the ability to capture and amplify a game's most exciting and important moments. Maybe, I thought, if I worked at it, I could one day become good enough to do it for a living... and to be part of baseball. It was beyond my wildest hopes and fanciful thoughts that one day, this sort of recognition would come my way. So I hope you can understand my genuine appreciation for what this award represents, and how meaningful and humbling it is to have my name linked with those who have preceded me in the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame."

Costas was hired by KMOX's Robert Hyland... and made the city his home for decades:

"I will also always be grateful to the great fans of St. Louis. The argument about what the best baseball town is... is pointless. There are several who can make a case; they all have their individual charms and history and appeal. But St. Louis has to be somewhere on that list: the combination of passion, and knowledge, and history and tradition. And in the 1980's, when I was making whatever mark I made nationally in baseball, St. Louis was a great place to be around the game. Not just the games you broadcast, but the games you attended with your children and with your friends, just to be around baseball and to soak up the atmosphere. And first Whitey Herzog, and then Joe Torre, and then Tony La Russa. And Hall of Fame players like Ozzie Smith, and Bob Gibson, and Lou Brock, and Bruce Sutter, and Red Schoendienst, whom we just lost. And of course, Stan Musial. They couldn't have been kinder to me. And those Herzog teams of the 80's played an exciting and nuanced style of baseball that really rewarded those who loved and paid attention to the game. And even though I never broadcast Cardinal games, specifically, I was a baseball guy, St. Louis was my home, and people treated me there like one of their own... and they still do. And I'll always be grateful for that."