Legendary Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez named winner of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Jack Graney Award

Legendary Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez named winner of Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Jack Graney Award

St. Marys, Ont. – Longtime Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez has been named the winner of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2023 Jack Graney Award.

The St. Marys, Ont.-based shrine presents this award annually to a member of the media who has made significant contributions to baseball in Canada through their life’s work.

“When people talk about the Toronto Blue Jays, one of the first names they will mention is Buck Martinez,” said Jeremy Diamond, chair of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors. “He started as a catcher with the club in 1981 and later managed the team, but he’s best known as an insightful, respected and beloved analyst on the team’s TV broadcasts. Over the past three decades, Buck has taught so many of us so much about the game. We are proud to honour him with this award.”

Born in 1948 in Redding, Calif,, Martinez made his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals in 1969. He was a durable catcher who played 1,049 games in parts of 17 big league seasons with the Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Blue Jays.

But even before his playing career was over, he began broadcasting when he covered the All-Star Game, the American League Championship Series and the World Series for the Telemedia Radio Network in 1982.

His full-time broadcast career began five years later when he was hired to be a colour commentator on TSN’s Blue Jays broadcasts. In 1992, Martinez began working with ESPN Radio and TV and in 1995 he earned a Sports EMMY Award for his work on ESPN’s coverage of Cal Ripken’s 2,131st consecutive game.

After leaving the booth to serve as the Blue Jays manager for parts of two seasons in 2001 and 2002, he worked as a TV analyst for the Baltimore Orioles from 2003 to 2009, and won another EMMY, before returning to the Blue Jays TV broadcast crew in 2010. He has now been part of the Sportsnet TV broadcast team for the past 14 seasons.

On top of his work on Blue Jays telecasts, Martinez has also contributed colour commentary for Sunday afternoon games on TBS and participated in the network’s postseason coverage. He has also served as a broadcaster in the last four World Baseball Classics after managing the U.S. team in the first competition.

In recent years, he has also broadcast the All-Star Game and the World Series for MLB International.

Over the course of his career, Martinez has also found time to write three books about his experiences in baseball with the Blue Jays: From Worst to First (1985), The Last Out (1986) and Change Up: How to Make the Great Game of Baseball Even Better (2016).

In 2020, he became president of the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.), an organization that confidentially assists members of the baseball family.

In all, Martinez’s resume in professional baseball boasts 20 years as a player, 41 as a broadcaster and two as a manager.

“I was very surprised and happy to hear from the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame that I have been named the 2023 Jack Graney Award winner. There are many great names on the list of past winners, many who I have worked with or alongside for many years. Two names on the list that mean the most to me, giving me a great deal of pleasure to join them are Tom Cheek and Len Bramson. Without their support and direction I would not have had the wonderful career in broadcasting that I have enjoyed!”, said Buck Martinez

Details about the presentation of the 2023 Jack Graney Award will be announced in the coming months.

Born in St. Thomas, Ont., Jack Graney was a scrappy leadoff hitter in the big leagues for Cleveland. His big league resume boasts a number of firsts. When he walked to the plate in a game against the Boston Red Sox on July 11, 1914, he became the first batter to face Babe Ruth. Almost two years later, on June 26, 1916, he was the first major leaguer to bat wearing a number on his uniform. After hanging up his spikes, Graney became the first ex-player to make the transition to the broadcast booth, performing radio play-by-play for Cleveland from 1932 to 1953.

Previous Winners of the Jack Graney Award:

1987 – Neil MacCarl – Toronto Star
1988 – Milt Dunnell – Toronto Star
1990 – Austin “Dink” Carroll – Montreal Gazette
1991 – Joe Crysdale & Hal Kelly – CKEY
1996 – Dave Van Horne – Montreal Expos
2001 – Tom Cheek – Sportsnet 590/The Fan
2002 – Ernie Harwell – Detroit Tigers
2003 – Allan Simpson – Baseball America
2004 – Jacques Doucet – Montreal Expos
2005 – Len Bramson – TBS Sports
2009 – Ian MacDonald – Montreal Gazette
2010 – Bob Elliott – Sun Media & canadianbaseballnetwork.com
2011 – W. P. Kinsella – “Shoeless Joe” novel adapted to film “Field of Dreams”
2012 – Jerry Howarth – Sportsnet 590/The Fan
2013 – Rodger Brulotte – Montreal Expos, Toronto Blue Jays
2014 – Richard Griffin – Toronto Star
2015 – Serge Touchette – Le Journal de Montreal
2016 – Larry Millson – Globe and Mail
2017 – Alison Gordon – Toronto Star
2018 – Jeff Blair – Sportsnet
2019 – Ken Fidlin – Toronto Sun
2020 – Dan Shulman – Rogers Sportsnet, ESPN
2021 – John Lott, National Post – The Athletic
2022 – Richard Milo – Canadian Press
2023 – Buck Martinez – Rogers Sportsnet

One Response

  1. Congratulations Buddy couldn’t happen to a nicer person or a more deserving individual. I am proud to call you my friend.