Joe Garagiola, Sr. has been honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame as the 2014 John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous winners include Buck O’Neil (2008) and longtime executive Roland Hemond in 2011.
Garagiola had previously been honored with the 1991 Ford C. Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame for broadcasting excellence. He stepped away from broadcasting earlier this year.
Garagiola will receive the award during the Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 26, 2014, as a part of the Hall of Fame Weekend. After his playing career, which started in 1946, came to an end, the former Cardinal player spent his life helping others in the game through two organizations he helped start: The Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) and the National Spit Tobacco Education Program.
“Joe Garagiola has spent eight decades in and around baseball, and has enhanced the lives of so many fans and players,” Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement. “He has promoted the positive impact of baseball on society and embodies the spirit of the Buck O’Neil Award. The Board is recognizing Joe’s character, integrity and dignity; and his countless hours of tireless work with B.A.T. and the Spit Tobacco Education Program, for the sole benefit of those in need of assistance and education. He gained national fame as a broadcaster who went beyond baseball to use his celebrity platform to make a difference for others. We are extremely honored to present him with the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“Supposedly I made a career out of putting words together, but at this moment, I cannot express what it means to me to receive this honor,” Garagiola said in a statement. “I think of the great Tug McGraw line, when he said, ‘Two years out of baseball, you are a trivia question.’ Well now, to be recognized for the Hall of Fame for my lifetime achievement, is just tremendous. I wish I could find the words to say thank you to the Board of Directors for this honor. What a thrill!”
The next award is scheduled to be presented in 2017.