Leitner, Ortega among Frick candidates

Leitner, Ortega among Frick Award candidates

Sharing an endearing love of the game, an enduring bond with listeners and boundless energy, Ted Leitner and Eduardo Ortega are the Padres' candidates for the 2006 Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence.

Presented annually since 1978, the Ford C. Frick Award is given to an active or retired broadcaster with a minimum of 10 years of continuous Major League broadcast service with a ballclub, network, or a combination of the two.

Fans will have the opportunity to vote for up to three of the 182 broadcasters eligible for consideration for the 2006 Ford C. Frick Award. Fans are allowed to vote once daily. Results will be announced when voting concludes, though updates will not be provided during the voting. The fan selections, along with the full ballot of 10 candidates, will be announced on Dec. 5.

The final ballot will be comprised of the three fan selections, along with seven other candidates, determined by a Hall of Fame staff research team. The Frick electorate includes all living award winners and six historians appointed by the Hall of Fame.

The voting electorate consists of 20 members, featuring 2005 Ford C. Frick Award winner Jerry Coleman and the other 13 living Frick Award winners: Marty Brennaman, Herb Carneal, Joe Garagiola, Curt Gowdy, Ernie Harwell, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Harry Kalas, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker and Bob Wolff.

Six historians and veteran media members are also part of the electorate, including Bob Costas (NBC), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Stan Isaacs (formerly of New York Newsday), Ted Patterson (historian), Curt Smith (historian) and Larry Stewart (Los Angeles Times).

Voters are asked to base their selections on the following criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans.

Paper ballots will be cast by voting members each January and the final results will be announced at the Hall of Fame's Web site in February. Each voter will cast ballots for three candidates and the broadcaster with the most support will be named as that year's award winner, and be honored the following summer at the annual induction ceremony in Cooperstown.

With a distinctive voice and rich background lending itself to plentiful anecdotes, the colorful and insightful Leitner has served for 26 seasons behind the microphone for "My Padres." Listeners tune in knowing they can count on Leitner to shoot straight while giving them an impassioned account of the action.

Leitner has spent a quarter-century working alongside Coleman, the immensely popular 2005 Ford C. Frick Hall of Fame honoree. Leitner joined Coleman in Cooperstown, N.Y., last summer for his partner's ceremony. Coleman, in his unique fashion, highlighted Leitner's Hall credentials during his speech.

Now in his 32nd year as San Diego's most outspoken and widely respected radio broadcaster, Leitner's previous play-by-play credits also include the National Football League's San Diego Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles, the National Basketball Association's San Diego Clippers, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Connecticut and San Diego State University Aztecs football and basketball.

In addition to his play-by-play, Leitner also hosts a popular talk show on the Mighty 1090 AM. His distinguished broadcasting career includes stays in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Hartford, Conn.; and Philadelphia.

A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Leitner attended graduate school at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. His versatility and high-energy broadcasts reflect a love of the games he announces as well as a deep affection for his listeners, who develop an emotional attachment to Leitner owing largely to his interest in serving as their connection to the teams and players they follow.

Leitner always has had a lot of incentive at home to keep the paychecks rolling in. He has a daughter, Kristin, and six sons: twins Nicholas and Ryan as well as Mark, Matthew, Jordan and Theodore.

With his own distinctive style in a neighboring booth, Ortega has been captivating listeners for 19 years as the Spanish voice of the Padres.

Ortega brings his one-of-a-kind charisma and flair to Padres Spanish radio and television. Like his esteemed colleague to the north, the Dodgers' Jarrin, Ortega is beloved by fans on both sides of the border for his passion and commitment to creating word's eye pictures of the game's great talents.

The Tijuana native's credentials include a season as the voice of the San Francisco Giants in 1991, four years as play-by-play man for the Tijuana Potros of the Mexican Pacific Winter League and two seasons broadcasting for Tijuana's team in the Northern of Sonora AA Summer League. Prior to join the Padres, he spent one year as the voice of the Cottongrowers in Union Laguna in the AAA Mexican Summer League.

For the last 14 seasons he's been the lead play-by-play in Padres baseball. Since 1993, Ortega has broadcast the playoffs and World Series for CBS Hispanic Radio Network, LBC Radio Network and ESPN Deportes Radio, working with the only living Hispanic Frick Award-winning announcers, Jarrin and Ramirez.

In 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004 he was chosen to broadcast the All-Star Game, bringing the action to millions of fans across the U.S. and Latin America. For eight winter seasons, the tireless Ortega handled the play-by-play for the worldwide telecast of the Caribbean World Series for Galavision and Fox Sports Network and radio networks from the four different host countries.

Ortega, who hosts the Padres' Spanish-language TV show "Mas Cerca Del Juego," has made presentations at Major League Baseball's Rookie Career Development Program. Along with the four All-Star Games, he has broadcast nine World Series, the 3,000th hit by both Tony Gwynn and Ricky Henderson, two no-hit, no-run games and the 500th home run by Mark McGwire.

In 1995, he joined the Padres' front-office staff on a year-round basis, assisting in sales and public relations and making countless appearances on behalf of the club across the region. He was named Sports Ambassador of Tijuana by the city's mayor in November 1998 and was honored as 1997 Sportscaster of the Year by the Sportswriters Association of Tijuana.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.