Established in 2004 by the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, the Toy Cannon Award for outstanding community service is presented annually by its namesake, Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn.
Mickey Herskowitz is the personification of excellence in writing. Even if Mickey had never risen to deserved recognition on the world stage, generations of Houstonians would still revere him as the sportswriter who made the difference at breakfast time, each day of the year, for over half a century.
Mickey’s columns for the Houston Post and Chronicle laced our imaginations with new and refreshing views on the world of sports. When the Astrodome opened in 1965, he painted a word picture of how it looked. It was a picture that would anchor our own musings until we had a chance to see the world’s first domed stadium directly for ourselves: “Think of a giant deodorant stick that has been buried in the ground, up to the rim of the bubbled top.” One year later, in 1965, when Astroturf replaced the natural grass that could no longer grow inside the Astrodome, Herskowitz watched its installation in zippered sections. Mickey’s observation of the greater meaning of this action was pure Herskowitz: “Now Houston has the only ballpark in the Major Leagues with its own built-in, infield fly.”
In 1972, Mickey’s coverage of the terrorist tragedy at the Munich Olympics called him quickly away from sports writing to the larger stage of international journalism. It was a painful experience, of course, but one that showed up in the growth of Mickey’s outlook on the fragility of peace. Mickey Herskowitz had become a writer to the world. In addition to his journalism career, Herskowitz has authored books on historical figures such as Gene Autry, Nolan Ryan, Paul “Bear” Bryant, George Allen, Tom Kite, John Connolly, and Prescott Bush. He was also the ghostwriter of autobiographies for Dan Rather, Mickey Mantle, Howard Cosell, Bette Davis, Shirley Jones & Marty Ingels, and Gene Tierney.
For his many contributions to baseball, Mickey Herskowitz was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997. Tonight, he is home again to be honored as the 3rd annual recipient of the Jimmy Wynn “Toy Cannon” Award for community service.