NFL

Joe Buck’s Hall of Fame Honor Came on an Important Family Anniversary

Fox Sports announcer Joe Buck has spent his adult life hearing criticism that he rode his father’s coattails into a sports broadcasting career. Yes, the connection to Jack Buck had to help. The Pro Football Hall of Fame, however, happens to think that the man has earned his keep.

At halftime of the Week 2 NFL game in Cleveland alongside color commentator Troy Aikman, Joe Buck learned he will be enshrined at the next Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

Jack Buck set a high standard in broadcasting

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Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders may have played both pro football and major-league baseball, but Jack Buck went one better: He earned enshrinement in the halls of fame for each as a broadcaster.

Buck, who was 77 years old when he died in June 2002, and the St. Louis Cardinals were closely identified with each other in a career in the radio booth that began in 1954. He took over as the lead play-by-player announcer in 1969, a role he kept even while cutting back to doing just home games in the latter days of his career.

Perhaps his most memorable play call in baseball came in the 1988 World Series and is sometimes the source of confusion. Buck handled the CBS Radio broadcast as Kirk Gibson famously homered off Dennis Eckersley. The audio of his radio call is often played over the video of the NBC TV broadcast done by Vin Scully:

“I don’t believe what I just saw! Is this really happening?

Jack Buck

Buck was also well-known for his football work, beginning with AFL assignments for ABC in 1960 and the CBS in 1964. He formed a longtime team with retired Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram on CBS Radio’s Monday night games beginning in 1978.

In 1996, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, presented Buck with the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for “longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.” The list of recipients over the years has included Ed Sabol, Curt Gowdy, Dick Enberg, John Madden, Jim Nantz, and Al Michaels.

On Sept. 17, 2020, another familiar name joined the list. The Hall of Fame announced during halftime of the Cleveland Browns-Cincinnati Bengals game that Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Joe Buck is the latest recipient of the Rozelle Award.

Joe Buck’s father gave an inspiring speech

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Jack Buck had a number of health issues in the later years of his life and cut back to doing just St. Louis Cardinals home broadcasts in the late 1990s. The reduced schedule gave him time to write poetry, which had become a favorite activity for him.

Six days after the terrorist attacks of Sept 11, 2001, Buck made one of his final and most memorable public appearances by reading one of his poems at Busch Stadium in St. Louis as baseball resumed its schedule.

Part of the poem read:

“War is just not our nature
We won’t start, but we will end the fight.
If we are involved,
We shall be resolved
To protect what we know is right.”

“For America,” by Jack Buck

Exactly 19 years later, Joe Buck learned that he was joining his father as a Pro Football Hall of Fame member.

Joe Buck is a top sports broadcaster in his own right

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Joe Buck, 51, has now spent more than half his life broadcasting NFL games for Fox Sports after following his father, the legendary Jack Buck, into the business. Though often criticized by fans and some in the media, Buck has been selected the National Broadcaster of the Year four times by the National Sports Media Association. It’s an award Bob Costas has earned eight times and Al Michaels three times.

Buck filled in for his father of St. Louis Cardinals baseball broadcasts at times in the 1990s and has done national World Series play-by-play on television for Fox Sports for 21 of the past 23 years.

When Fox hired Buck to handle NFL games in 1994, he became the sport’s youngest network play-by-play announcer ever, according to Fox, which promoted him to its No. 1 team for national games in 2002.

In 2018, Buck and color commentator Troy Aikman added Thursday Night Football to their schedule. The Pro Football Hall of Fame chose Week 2 game of the 2020 season and the 100th anniversary of the formation of the NFL to announce Buck’s selection for induction into the shrine.