Courtesy of Youtube, I am watching the 1971 Major LeagueBaseball All-Star Game with Curt Gowdy doing the play-by-play and Tony Kubek doing the color. I was able to listen to Gowdy a little bit as a kid. Watching this, I am reminded of his laidback and smooth style. The great broadcasters of yesterday are quite the contrast of many today, who can be over-the-top.
At any rate, it got me to thinking of some of the great broadcasters, as I do often. In no particular order, here are some of my favorites.
Jack Buck: Growing up in St. Louis, by law I am required to to put Jack Buck at the top. I miss sitting outside on a warm summer night listening to his voice. I have been known to dial him up on Youtube to reminisce. Whenever I go to a game, his voice still does play-by-play in my head. My wife might use that last sentence to have me committed.
Harry Caray: Harry spent much of his career in St. Louis, but that was before my time. My experience listening to Harry consists of his play-by-play on WGN, which was great in his initial years in Chicago. But, would it be too harsh to say he eventually became a sideshow? Nonetheless, we still watched and loved.
Harry Kalas: Has there ever been a more unique voice? I never got to listen to him too much, but if I could choose one voice to have, it would be his.
Vin Scully: He doesn’t so much do play-by-play as he does storytelling. He has a story for everything. We listened to him doing the NBC Game of the Week in the 1980’s, but I cherish the times when he is calling Dodger games that are being carried on the MLB Network. He started doing Dodger games in 1950, before they headed west. After 64 years, I wonder if anyone has watched more baseball in their lifetime? He is perhaps, my favorite broadcaster outside of St. Louis.
Ernie Harwell: Another great storyteller, with colorful phrases. My favorite line is, “Called out for excessive window shopping,” following a called third strike.
Jerry Coleman: The only former Major Leaguer on the list, he did play-by-play for the Padres from 1972 until his death earlier this year (excluding 1980 when he managed San Diego). Laidback and relaxed style.
Keith Jackson: While he is best known for college football, and how I miss his call on the gridiron, he was a very versatile broadcaster and did a great job on the diamond.
Tony Kubek and Joe Garagiola: I wish they could bring back guys like them to add to the PBP!