Less than a month after Robbie Alomar was snubbed in the Baseball Hall of Fame voting longtime Orioles Play-by-play man John Miller has been named the recipient of the Ford C. Frick award and will be enshrined in Cooperstown this Summer. Sounds like a road trip to me (Hint, hint Nestor). In fact there’s a better chance that I go to Cooperstown to see Miller honored than I pay to go to an O’s game this season.
Jon Miller’s departure from Baltimore was the first public example of Angelos’ arrogance and short sightedness. After serving as the voice of the Orioles for 14 years and becoming the logical successor to Chuck Thompson as the Unofficial Voice of Baltimore, Miller was essentially removed by Angelos for not being enough of a “rah rah Let’s Go O’s” voice in the broadcast booth. Just like Peter to fire someone for being too professional. The team spun the divorce as a contract dispute.
Miller’s voice was the sound track of my childhood Summers. I remember countless nights of shooting hoops in the backyard listening to the best damn baseball broadcaster in the land. When Jon began doing Sunday Night Baseball for ESPN I felt like Baltimore was forced to share a great civic treasure with the nation.
In the 14 years since Jon departed the Orioles have cycled through a countless array of replacements; from the comically inadequate Fred Manfra, to the woefully miscast Ken Levine, to the ultimate cheerleader in Jim Hunter it is the fans who have suffered the most. Peter Angelos is most likely thrilled with the Miller divorce in retrospect. He was so enamored with Hunter’s work that Jim is now the voice of the team owned network. Nary a criticism shall cross his lips. Joe Angel is now our only hope for any interesting inning or two each night.
I’m writing to say thank you Jon Miller. Thanks for making mid-July blowouts in Arlington entertaining. Thanks for making rain delays some of the most interesting broadcasts of the season. Thanks for filling my childhood Summers with humor, baseball knowledge and the occasional Vin Scully impression. Thank you, and a much deserved congratulations. See you in Cooperstown.