The Phillies broadcast team of the early ‘80s
For Chris Wheeler, working for a major league baseball team, any major league baseball team, would be special. To get to work every day for his beloved Philadelphia Phillies, is more than he ever truly dared to dream.
In 1971, Chris Wheeler joined the Phillies as their Assistant Director of Publicity and Public Relations. He had used his Penn State degree in Journalism and Broadcasting to get jobs with WCAU radio in Philadelphia and WBBM radio in Chicago, doing news, sports and even traffic reports from a small plane. From there, Wheeler moved to New York for a stint with CBS radio, but didn't hesitate when the chance to truly come "home" was right in front of him.
Six years after coming to the Phillies, Wheeler moved to the broadcast booth and after 27 seasons of broadcasting Phillies baseball, Wheeler's name appears on the ballot for the Ford C. Frick Award, which is presented each year to honor one broadcaster as a member of the Hall of Fame. Harry Kalas was given the award in 2002 and By Saam was the first Phillies broadcaster to enter the hall when he was inducted in 1990.
For now, the ballot is in the preliminary stages. Fans can vote for who they believe should be on the final ballot at the Baseball Hall of Fame web site. The top three vote getters will make the ballot and will be joined by seven other broadcasters who will be selected by a Hall of Fame staff research team. It is the first time that fans have had any say in the ballot.
Wheeler is often the brunt of many jokes among the Phillies family. Having his briefcase stolen by John Vukovich and placed on the infield during the middle of infield practice has become somewhat of a spring tradition in Clearwater.
In addition to his broadcasting duties, Wheeler is one of the top requested members of the Phillies Speakers' Bureau that travels the banquet circuit every winter spreading stories of Phillies baseball over the ages.
Wheeler's former colleague Andy Musser is also on the Ford C. Frick nomination ballot. Musser spent 25 years as a member of the Phillies broadcast team, coming to Philadelphia in 1976. Originally, Musser worked in Philadelphia doing Eagles and 76ers games starting in 1965 and then worked for CBS Television from 1971-1974 broadcasting the '72 and '74 Super Bowls, NFL Playoff games, the NBA All-Star Game and the Masters Golf Tournament.
In addition to the Phillies, 76ers and Eagles, Musser spent time working for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, San Diego Chargers and for Villanova University during his career.