"Cheekyisms" from Cheekie

* Jumpin' Joe Carter was jumpin as he approached 1B coach Bob Bailor and that's when broadcaster Tom Cheek, worried that Carter would miss first, said "touch 'em all Joe! ..." .... MLB, Brewers open workouts 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors  2013 Canadian collegians playing summer ball 2013 Canadians in College  Letters of Intent


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By Bob Elliott

“Touch ’em all Joe! You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.”

You probably have heard Tom Cheek’s call of Joe Carter’s walk-off homer to win the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies even if you were born in 1993.

The Blue Jays broadcaster was much more than those 14 words.

He said about millions on and off the air. He loved music and you could hear him before you saw him singing Neil Diamond songs or Jo Stafford’s “Shrimp Boats Are A Coming.”

Some of the funny, more memorable phrases from his friends, six days before his wife Shirley accepts the Ford C. Frick award Saturday at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, “Cheekyisms from Cheekie,” as CJCL’s Vickie McKee describes them:

Cito Gaston after a round of golf with Jeff Ross and Cheek, the broadcaster walked into the clubhouse in Oldsmar, Fla. and loudly asked: “Can ANYONE in here give me a golf lesson?”

Former Jays GM Gord Ash on how Cheek answered when why he talked so loudly: “Learned to whisper in a saw mill.”

Susan Cutajar, former producer: “Long before the days of cell phones. Cheekie always worked into a broadcast a travel itinerary for Shirley and the time the charter would land at the Hamilton airport, so Shirley the chauffeur would know when to pick him up.”

GM Pat Gillick as a guest on the first Jays post-game show when a caller asked: “Why is Mr. Cheek so mean to our players?” Gillick responded “Could we check with the traffic reporters to make sure a tall man didn’t just drive into ditch on his drive home to Burlington?”

Former engineer Bruce Brenner: “In the early days with Early Wynn, when it looked like there was going to be a bench-clearing brawl, he’d say ‘JIMINY! There’s going to be a brouhaha.’ On his 50th birthday we had about 200 people at the Westin for a surprise party. We had cardboard cut outs of Tom, he opened the door and instead of yelling ‘Surprise!’ we yelled ‘JIMINY! There’s going to be a brouhaha.’”

Paul Williams, of Telemedia Network Radio, was in the booth when Jose Canseco went fifth deck off Mike Flanagan in the third inning of Game 4 of the 1989 ALCS putting Oakland up 3-0: “Tom’s reply to that depressing event was to say as ‘Earl Weaver used to say: two bloops and a blast and we’re back in it.’”

Williams recalls winter caravans to North Bay, Sudbury, Timmins etc. where Cheek would tell the assembled faithful “we flew in here on tree top airlines.”

John Lowe, Detroit Free Press: “Driving home from Tiger Stadium, listening to the Windsor station, Tom said ‘so the Jays go to the bottom of the ninth, down a run with a chance to win it ... Manny Lee, Charlie Moore and Nelson Liriano due up.’”

Jeff Ross, equipment manager, recalls Cheek saying: “I’ll golf, but not in Tommy Craig’s foursome.”

Gerald McGroarty, former engineer, used to give instructions and when details moved too fast, Cheek would say “now hold the phone Martha.”

If McGroarty showed for a day game, trying to conceal hangover signs, Cheek would take a look and say, “if you can’t run with the big dogs stay on the porch.”

Dale Wilson, former producer, recalls Cheekyisms “now wait just a dog gone minute?” and “well, that’s a corker.”

Mike Shaw, part of the Jays P.R. staff, was in the press box when Cheek walked in, fired down the new media guide and exclaimed: “Can ANYONE tell me where I can find the career home run leaders in this monstrosity of a guide.”

Shaw gave Cheek’s review of a Seattle hotel: “The hallways of this place are dark enough to film an episode of the Munsters?”

Mike Trenton, a long-time friend, recalls Cheek saying during night games in California: “for those of you at home scoring in bed, that’s a 5-4-3 ...”

Gaston on the day broadcaster Gary (Sarge) Matthews scored a hole in one on an Aurora course: “Tom told Sarge ‘keep it a secret, we’ll announce it on the air.’ We at to the park standing about the batting cage and Tom tells everyone about the Sarge’s hole-in-one.”

And my fave: “Elliot why not hook yourself to an IV of Diet Coke rather than walking around with one in your hand all the time?”