Streaker Jarrin respected Cheek streak

* Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Jaime Jarrín, who worked 3,975 consecutive Dodger games, was impressed with Tom Cheek's 4,306. .... 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

Jaime Jarrín has seen enough baseball that he is seldom shocked.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Spanish language broadcaster, who came to work every day for 22 seasons, was surprised.

From 1962 to 1984, Jarrín called 3,975 consecutive Dodger games.

“I never paid attention to the streak, then one day my boss called me in and said ‘Jaime we went through all the material, you have the longest consecutive-game streak in broadcasting,’” said Jarrin in Phoenix during the World Baseball Classic.

A Ford C. Frick winner, Jarrin has had a vote to elect the next winner each year since 1999.

“The thing is, I thought I had the record -- 3,975 -- and then I read the bio information on the ballot for Tom Cheek a few years ago,” said Jarrin, remembering his surprise.

Cheek worked 4,306 games in a row, plus 41 in post-season play, from the Blue Jays game home opener on April 7, 1977 until June 3, 2004 when he took two days off for the death of his father.

Jarrin has voted Cheek first on his Frick ballot the past few years, including December when Cheek won and three days from now his wife Shirley will accept the award at Doubleday Field.

“Tom was a very nice man and an excellent broadcaster,” said Jarrin, who met during the 1992 World Series. “I was very disappointed he did not win the last few years.”

Jarrín was honoured along with Hall of Fame inductees Larry Doby and Don Sutton, veteran’s committee choices George Davis and Bullet Rogan plus executive Lee MacPhail in 1998 at Cooperstown.

The Dodgers broadcaster left his room and walked into a ball room at the Otesaga Resort jammed with Hall of Famers awaiting the bus ride to the ceremonies.

“I felt so great and yet so small at the same time,” Jarrin recalled.

There he sat with the likes of Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Jim Bunning, Juan Marichal and Luis Aparacio, thinking over his speech.

Then, it was onto the bus and off to the ceremonies.

The highlight is easy ... even 15 years later.

“During my speech my son, Mauricio, yelled out loudly ‘THAT’S MY DAD!’” said Jarrin, who spoke four minutes in Spanish, two minutes in English.

“Winning this award is like the Nobel Peace Prize for our industry,” he said. “There is nothing, nothing at all that is better.”

And for a man in his 55th season with enough awards to fill a page in the media guide, that is saying something as he was:

_ A household name serving as Fernando Valenzuela’s interpreter, during the wild days of Fernandomania in 1980-81.

_ Awarded La Gran Cruz al Merito en El Grado de Comendador (highest medal awarded to non-military personal) in his home country of Ecuador in 1992.

_ Given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998.

_ Inducted into the California Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2002.

_ Honored on the anniversary of his arrival to the United States from Ecuador in 2008, his 50th season with the Dodgers.

_ Recognized in 2008 with appearances throughout Los Angeles, receiving an award from the publisher and general manager of Hoy, the Los Angeles Times Spanish-language newspaper.

_ Honored his 54th season with a Jaime Jarrín t-Shirt, featuring an excerpt of Jarrín’s famous home run call “¡Se va, se va, y se fue ... despidala con un beso!” Tribute Night which sold more than 50,000 tickets.

_ This season, the Dodgers had Jaime Jarrín bobblehead night on May 25 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

_ And being part of the L.A. Hall of Fame announcing team with Vin Scully, a Frick winner in 1982.

Jarrin’s streak came to an end when he was asked to run the all Spanish-language radio coverage and production for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In all, he has called 19 all-star Games and 25 World Series, more than 30 world championship boxing title bouts for radio and TV stations in Latin America, including the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier, Thrilla in Manila between He was not always strictly sports broadcaster only, covering the funeral of President John F. Kennedy, as well as meetings between foreign leaders and U.S. presidents Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Yet, the Frick is the honour he cherishes most.

“I went through a streak, it’s very tough to maintain, you can’t get sick,” said Jarrin. “You have to be lucky, you have to be healthy. The streak is one of the reasons I’m in the Hall of Fame.

“I don’t think anyone will ever touch Tom’s number.”