Even the greats can be in awe occasionally.
Mike “Doc” Emrick, a Hall-of-Famer and multiple-time Emmy winner, found himself in that situation this past March, when another of the titans of sports broadcasting called to inform him he had won the Vin Scully Award for lifetime achievement.
“It’s one of those shocking things, it was back in March and my phone rang,” Emrick said. “I had never met Vin, never talked to him on the phone, then here’s this call coming out of the blue. He says, ‘Hi, Mike, Vin Scully here in Los Angeles.’ He said, ‘I bet you’re wondering why I’m calling.’
“I’m convinced the evening (Emrick receives the award) will be fun, and the plaque will be great, but that was the highlight, getting that call.”
Emrick, a St. Clair resident, is the eighth person to win the award, joining Scully — who won the inaugural award in 2008 — Dick Enberg, Ernie Harwell, Pat Sumerall, Al Michaels, Bob Costas and Verne Lundquist. The award was announced this past week, and Emrick will be presented with the award on Nov. 2.
“The nice thing was that they are the ones who vote on it,” Emrick said. “That’s part of the process I didn’t know. Vin explained to me that the people who vote on it are (Scully) and the previous winners. That was extremely flattering.”
Emrick began his career in 1973 as the play-by-play voice of the Port Huron Flags, and is now the voice of hockey in the United States. On Monday night, he finished his 14th Stanley Cup Final series, calling the Chicago Blackhawks’ Game 6 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He has worked 25 consecutive Stanley Cup playoffs and seven Olympic Winter Games.
In 2011, Emrick became the first member of the media inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. That same year, he won his first of three National Sports Emmys for Outstanding Sports Personality — Play by Play. In 2013, he was named the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Sportscaster of the Year, and in 2014, Sports Illustrated named him its sport media Person of the Year.
To get to this point, Emrick has received plenty of good advice, some of it from the men he’s joining on the list of Vin Scully Award winners. He said that Ernie Harwell helped him with his doctoral dissertation and made a big impact on him.
“One day at Tiger Stadium, I’ll never forget, we walked down to the press room after a long interview, and there was a woman there grilling hot dogs getting ready for that night’s game, and another guy setting up scorecards,” Emrick said. “As we walked down the hallway, he stopped at each location, and he started each conversation with, ‘Meet my friend, Mike Emrick.’
“You could tell they wanted him to come talk to them, and he knew their names.”
Lundquist was one that gave Emrick some announcing advice. Emrick was on a crew for NFL games in 1993, and while doing a rehearsal game in Washington, he ran into Lundquist and John Madden, who were calling the game that day.
“I was memorizing all 52 names on both teams, it was exhausting,” Emrick said. “Verne said, ‘You have a spotter for this. Trust your spotter. Learn the names of the guys in the backfield, guys who are going to have the ball and some of the important defensive players, but trust your spotter.’
“That was one of the great bits of advice I got from the great Verne Lundquist.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.