Friday, August 7, 2009

August 7, 2009

Tonight, the Blue Jays honoured the back-to-back World Series Championship teams of 1992 and 1993. There was a ceremony which was held prior to the game vs. the Baltimore Orioles where they introduced the alumni; former players, coaches, and administration. I could take a humourous approach and talk about how it looks like Juan Guzman had been eating for 16 years, or how Kelly Gruber's mullet was spectacular, but what struck me most, was right after they introduced Jerry Howarth...and then followed it up with introducing Shirley Cheek, the wife of Tom Cheek.

I thought it was a wonderful gesture on the part of the Blue Jays to include her (and him) in the ceremony, seeing as he is such an integral part of the team's history, and their World Series championships. No Blue Jay fan will ever forget Tom's legendary call to end the 1993 World Series, "Touch' em all, Joe! You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life!" I still get goosebumps every time I hear it, and even thinking about it.
Tom Cheek was the voice of my childhood, and one of the primary reasons I wanted to become a sports broadcaster. I remember curling up in bed when I was 13 or 14 years old, when the Blue Jays were on a Western road trip, and turning my clock radio on just loud enough so I could hear it, but my mom couldn't, and listening to the 10:35 games from Oakland, or Anaheim, or Seattle. Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth were my bedtime story...and I would fall asleep listening to them call the game.

It was great seeing a callback to those wonderful memories of the 1992 and 1993 Blue Jays. I was at each of those World Series--Game 4 in 1992, and Game 1 in 1993--and those are memories I'll have forever (and probably a future post on here.) As a matter of fact, had the Blue Jays not won in Atlanta in Game 6 in 1992, I was going to be going to Game 7. But as great as those memories are, they are bittersweet for the reminder that Tom Cheek is no longer with us.

I looked everywhere to find a clip from that Joe Carter home run call, and I couldn't find it. What I did find was a collection of some of Tom's greatest calls, and his speech from the day he was inducted into the Blue Jays' Level of Excellence. It is emotional listening to him speak candidly about his brain tumour, which would take him a year later. I urge you to take 6 minutes and 37 seconds out of your life and watch the clip embedded below. Make sure you watch along for some classic photos as well. And will hear that classic call from the World Series at the end.

You are missed, Tom.

1 comment:

Opal said...

I love this! I also grew up listening to Tom Cheek, listened to my old radio in my room. I kept score of most of the games in my "official scorebook" from 1990-1995 just for fun.I even have a couple games that ran so late that I passed out around the seventh inning usually, you can see in my scorebook.