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The ceremony to induct Jim Weber into the International League Hall of Fame made it official.
The “local boy” has made good.
In a pregame ceremony at Fifth Third Field on Thursday, the Mud Hens broadcaster became not only the 113th member of the IL Hall of Fame, but also the first person inducted in his hometown since the league revived the hall of fame in 2008.
International League president Randy Mobley gave some perspective to the tenure of Weber, a Bowsher High School graduate who on Thursday broadcast his 5,062nd consecutive Mud Hens game in his 40th season.
“When Jim called his first game [on April 12, 1975], Hens hitting coach Leon Durham was just finishing his junior year of high school in Cincinnati,” Mobley said. “Hens manager Larry Parrish was in his second season in the major leagues with the Montreal Expos.
“And soon-to-be International League career home run leader Mike Hessman would not be born for another three years.”
Weber then was introduced by Mobley, who first met the Toledo broadcast icon while serving as a Columbus Clippers intern in the early 1980s.
“Randy would bring me scores off the ‘ticker’ in those days,” Weber said. Then the IL president gave Weber the “Curtain Call,” a statue of a player tipping his cap that the league had made specifically for its Hall of Famers.
In his acceptance speech Weber quickly referenced his local roots.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’m from Toledo,” said Weber, whose wife Kay, daughters Christine Bailey and Mary Fong, and grandchildren Meredith Bailey and Ryan Fong were at the ceremony.
Weber also is clearly proud of his association with the Mud Hens. He mentioned the three Hens general managers he worked for, as well as the managers and players who wore Toledo uniforms.
He also referenced the four Mud Hens who were voted IL MVP during his tenure, as well as several father-son combinations and his broadcast partners: Frank Gilhooley, Jr., Jason Griffin, Matt Melzak, and Bill Clark.
But Weber finished his acceptance speech by acknowledging the fans who have listened to his broadcasts through the games.
“I hope to enjoy [this] game as much as I have broadcasting the last 5,061,” he said.