February 14, 2008

Best All-Time Baseball Broadcaster?: Vin Scully, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Red Barber? Who is your favorite? Why? Give your top 5 best baseball sportscaster of all time. Mods, this could be a good addition to the wiki!

posted by BoKnows to navel gazing at 10:11 PM - 43 comments

Ernie Harwell needs to be on the list.

posted by trox at 10:42 PM on February 14, 2008

I'll keep a running tally, then I'll give results after thread winds down. My votes: 1. Jack Buck 2. Vin Scully 3. Harry Caray 4. Ernie Harwell 5. Red Barber

posted by BoKnows at 10:51 PM on February 14, 2008

1.Tom Cheek 2.Dan Shulman 3.Vin Scully 4.Ernie Harwell 5.Harry Caray Tom Cheek was my friend. I listened to him about 160 or so days of the year. Well, he wasn't really my friend, he had no idea who I was, but I was one of thousands upon thousands of Blue Jay fans who enjoyed Tom so much. When Blue Jays baseball was on the air, Tom Cheek was there. For the first 4,344 Blue Jay games, Tom was there to guide us and entertain us, and paint pictures for us. Tom Cheek, for many, was Blue Jays baseball. Tom died in October of 2005, taken far too soon, by a recurring brain tumor. He signed off his broadcasts with the same expression after every game. "Folks, thanks a million for tuning in. " As a baseball fan first, and a Blue Jays fan, "thanks a million Tom, for entertaining us so very well."

posted by tommybiden at 02:45 AM on February 15, 2008

Ok, I know im gonna catch hell for my number two pick, but it said favorite, not necessarily best, and im a cards fan so im sticking with it. 1. Jack Buck 2. Joe Buck 3. Ernie Harwell 4. Vin Scully 5. Red Barber

posted by elijahin24 at 04:24 AM on February 15, 2008

1. Ernie Harwell 2. Jack Brickhouse 3. Harry Caray 4. Vin Scully 5. then various hall of famers here

posted by NoMich at 08:00 AM on February 15, 2008

Like tommytrump, I'm partial to the local guys of my childhood, and while I have heard all these guys broadcast, it's one thing to hear them do a game or two, and quite another to carry on a two-hours-a-day, six-months-a-year, decades-long relationship with them. Some of us listen to them more than we listen to our own parents or spouses. The connection can easily get that deep with the play-by-play guy in your chosen sport. (Hi, Joe Bowen!) I may know what that relationship is like with a Vin Scully or a Jack Buck, but I only listened to Harwell or Caray or Uecker every once in a while, and that's a little different. These guys created a world that was best experienced day-to-day. Stopping in for the occasional national game of the week isn't the same. It's like watching a single episode of Days Of Our Lives. You'll get the gist of what's happening, but if you follow it every day for a long time, it makes a lot more sense. What I'd really like to see is people waxing poetic about their local broadcasters.

posted by chicobangs at 09:34 AM on February 15, 2008

Since I brought Harwell into this, here goes: 1. Ernie Harwell 2. Vin Scully 3. Jack Buck 4. Red Barber 5. Caray, Brickhouse, others - tie.

posted by trox at 09:39 AM on February 15, 2008

Where I live, there are some local legends like Max Falkenstein and Bob Davis, who covered Kansas sports for years. Max is retired now, but I still hear his voice every time I watch KU in any sport, which is a lot. Now Paul Splittorf covers Kansas, and does a great job. On the Royals side, it used to be Fred White and Denny Trease. I grew up laying in bed listening to them both, back when the Royals were good. I looked forward to going to bed as a kid because I could hear them talking about Cookie Rojas and Amos Otis, George, Willie, Frank White, Freddy Patek, etc. Man, those were the days.

posted by hawkguy at 09:50 AM on February 15, 2008

I pretty much only listened to Cardinals games on the radio (and now on mlb.com). So of course Jack Buck. And I am a big Mike Shannon fan. Love the Moonman.

posted by mbd1 at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2008

Definitely include your favorites! There is no standard level of fame needed to make this list. If it was your high school health teacher, put it down. If you only have one, that's ok too. I know I would love to hear stories of different calls or memories.

posted by BoKnows at 10:17 AM on February 15, 2008

I remember the Pine Tar game. I thought Fred white was going to stroke out! He was just about apoplectic. Then when they ended up finishing the game, he was just brutal to Billy Martin. God that was fun! In 85 when Denkinger missed the call that should have given the Cards the series, even the Royals announcers admitted that it was a terrible call. What people forget, though, is that they played a game after that, and the Cards didn't show up.

posted by hawkguy at 10:24 AM on February 15, 2008

For overall excellence, game in and game out, I have to go as follows: 1. Ernie Harwell 2. Red Barber 3. Curt Gowdy 4. Vin Scully 5. Ned Martin Martin makes the list because he was unique in his ability to maintain a graphic play-by-play of a one-sided game at the same time he was conducting a running commentary on something completely off-topic. The man was a walking encyclopedia. In his off hours while on the road, he would visit museums, local historic sites, and the like, and he would relevantly work the knowledge he had gathered into his broadcasts. Someone once described listening to him and his color partners as overhearing two old guys at the ballpark as they talked about the game and everything else.

posted by Howard_T at 10:35 AM on February 15, 2008

I haven't listened to many broadcasters but Ernie Harwell was excellent. However, he has nothing on Joe Morgan.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:43 AM on February 15, 2008

I love Mike Shannon too, mbd1. He had a certain Yogi Berra quality about him sometimes. Here's two of my favorite "Shannonism's" 1. "I've heard it said that if you know English, Spanish, Italian, and I think it's French, you can go just about anywhere in this world...except China where they have all those derelicts." After a pause, Joe Buck suggested that Mike has meant to say "dialects." Mike responded, "Yeah, dialects! That's what I mean...but they've got a lot of derelicts too!" 2. "Back in the day when I played, a pitcher had 3 pitches: a fastball, a curveball, a slider, a changeup and a good sinker pitch."

posted by BoKnows at 10:48 AM on February 15, 2008

True that, YYM. If only Ernie Harwell was as great as the mighty Tim McCarver. If only.

posted by chicobangs at 11:10 AM on February 15, 2008

I love Vin Scully. MLB's Extra Innings is worth it for me just to get a handful of Scully-called games on Fox Prime Ticket. Here's a transcript of his call of Koufax's perfect game. And here is the audio. (Previously posted in this thread.)

posted by holden at 11:20 AM on February 15, 2008

Oh crap, how could I forget George Kell?

posted by NoMich at 11:31 AM on February 15, 2008

1. Tom Cheek (I was born/raised in Toronto) 2. Vin Scully 3. Jack Buck 4. Ernie Harwell 5. Bob Uecker / Harry Doyle

posted by grum@work at 11:54 AM on February 15, 2008

Y'know what we are talking favs and not necessarily the best so i wanna revise my list. 1. is still jack buck 2. joe buck 3. mike shannon (in addition to being entertaining, you should try a steak at his restarant. Sweet Jesus its fantastic!) 4. tim mccarver 5. harry doyle

posted by elijahin24 at 12:05 PM on February 15, 2008

  1. Vin Scully
  2. Vin Scully
  3. Vin Scully
  4. Vin Scully
  5. Vin Scully
I Guess I will have to rep for Vin here. I don't know that I can readily explain what Vin has done for baseball in the city of Los Angeles. A great deal of you probably remember Scully from his work on NBC. But here in L.A. he has been the steady pulse of Major League Baseball since time out of mind. He's made his fair share of famous calls. But to my mind what makes Vin so special is how he manages to make every game an event. He doesn't puff up player reputations, nor does he play a homer. He doesn't dismiss newer statistical metrics, though the folks in the truck don't always provide him with many. What Vin does best is weave a story through the game, he relates to the casual fan the anecdotes behind visiting players, he makes the whole game feel more tangible, more human. His broadcasts evoke a sense of timelessness, yet never clamour for "the good old days". For upwards of three generations of Angelenos, Vin has been THE ambassador for baseball. In a time where much of the climate (and coverage) surrounding baseball has been so dark and gloomy, Vin has reminded us of how good the game has been and how it will always remain so.

posted by lilnemo at 12:20 PM on February 15, 2008

I am honestly flabbergasted by the lack of support for Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan. I feel like I don't know any of you anymore...

posted by jerseygirl at 12:42 PM on February 15, 2008

In Pasadena Vin Scully is code for Joe Morgan.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 01:33 PM on February 15, 2008

Joe Morgan is a baseball encyclopedia, but he is so fond of himself, that i cant stand to listen to him. And i do love McCarver

posted by elijahin24 at 02:07 PM on February 15, 2008

Chick Hearn (how can I be the first person to be mentioning him?) - the voice of the Lakers Ralph Kiner (you did say favorites, not best.) He was a favorite because of not in spite of his spectacular malapropisms. And Kiner's Korner Marv Albert - The voice of the Knicks and the Rangers for over 30 years Marty Glickman - Marv Albert's mentor and broadcaster for the Jets, Giants, Knicks and Rangers during his career. Glickman was also robbed of a gold medal when that hitler loving bitch Avery Brundage (may he rot in hell) replaced him on the 1936 US Olympic team John Davidson - Rangers color commentator - Like Kiner, a personal favorite. A few I really dislike: Vin Scully - A true professional. But I've always felt he didn't like the Mets so I don't like him. Al Michaels - He had me (and several friends) thrown out of a dog park in L.A. so he could film something so Fuck him. Johnny Most - Worst voice in radio. He always sounded like he just gargled broken glass

posted by cjets at 02:46 PM on February 15, 2008

Also,living in Philly, I get a lot of Harry Kalas and he's grown on me over the years. I'll never be able to forget his "It's outta here" calls.

posted by mbd1 at 02:53 PM on February 15, 2008

Chick Hearn (how can I be the first person to be mentioning him?) - the voice of the Lakers No wonder I hate the Lakers. All those N.B.A. championships aren't enough? Their great former announcer was also one of the best baseball broadcasters too. When is enough enough!?

posted by tommybiden at 03:16 PM on February 15, 2008

Outside of baseball, my list starts with Chuck Kaiton, the only radio guy that the Whalers (NHL version)/Hurricanes ever had. After that, there is a pretty wide chasm to the number two spot.

posted by NoMich at 03:34 PM on February 15, 2008

Can't believe I haven't seen the great Cincinnati tandem of Marty Brenneman/Joe Nuxhall (sorry for any misspelling, Joe.) Broadcasting Reds games all over the midwest on 700 WLW, this team taught me to love relaxing on a Saturday afternoon while I listened to a ball game. I haven't lived in Cincy for years so I don't know if Marty is still broadcasting, but hearing about Nuxhall's passing last year brought back thousands of happy memories. Two of the greatest, in my opinion.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:21 PM on February 15, 2008

In Pasadena Vin Scully is code for Joe Morgan. Ahem. I am going to punch you in the uvula.

posted by lilnemo at 06:14 PM on February 15, 2008

And i do love McCarver I am going to punch you in the uvula.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:21 PM on February 15, 2008

Ahem. Oh I was quite aware of that. Off topic: Have you ever been to the Rose Bowl?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 08:06 PM on February 15, 2008

I have to mention my local fav. A two sport commentator at that. Eli Gold Not only is he the voice of the Crimson Tide but he also covers NASCAR.

posted by Folkways at 08:27 PM on February 15, 2008

Well there's your problem, right there.

posted by NoMich at 08:47 PM on February 15, 2008

Uncle Vince, without a doubt. When I lived in Los Angeles (1990-1995) I loved listening to Vin Scully call Dodger games on the radio, and would alternate between radio and TV as the broadcasters did the same, just to hear him. I never heard Barber live, but knowing he was such a mentor to Scully I believe I would have enjoyed his delivery. Harry Caray always seemed like a caricature of himself. (Not Cubist!) i have no idea if we are related, but I grew up as a LA Dodgers fan living in suburban Washinggton, DC mostly because of him. Stupid, bloody News Corp ruined the Dodgers for me, but I still love to hear Vin Scully call a ballgame.

posted by scully at 10:32 AM on February 16, 2008

Tahoumoj, not only is Marty still doing the games but his broadcasting partner is his son Thom. Something special about hearing a father & son, both great announcers, doing a game. And yes, Thom does call Marty 'dad' on air.

posted by mick at 12:10 PM on February 16, 2008

Good to hear that Thom came home. I've seen him surface in Chicago and ESPN on a few occasions, and thought he did a pretty good job. His voice is eerily like his father's, though, so does it get a little confusing at times? Thanks for the update, mick.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:20 PM on February 16, 2008

I am so very pleased to post in the locker room my own favorite baseball anouncer, Dave Niehaus' induction to the Baseball Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Anyone who was an Angels fan 30 plus years ago or a Mariners fan the past 30 years has had the distinct pleasure of listening to a true poet of the game. Dave has also been awarded as the best broadcaster by an organization for the blind as being the one announcer who can paint a picture of the game with his words. For many years the only reason to tune in to a Mariners broadcast was to hear Niehaus tell you a story of the wonderful things he was a witness to. He taught me that there is always more to a baseball game than what takes place on the field. And he is an outstanding student of the game who educated us Northwesterners on the finer points of the game. For Dave, may I say, "Time to break out the rye bread and the mustard, grandma, it's grand salami time! My, oh my!"

posted by THX-1138 at 06:22 PM on February 19, 2008

And Mike Shannon would continue with: "A hit up the middle right now would be like a nice ham sandwich and a cold, frosty one." What's with the food references? The thread has strayed a little from my intentions but thats ok. As far as votes are concerned, Vin Scully, Jack Buck and Ernie Harwell are atop the list thus far. Keep the stories coming!

posted by BoKnows at 06:30 PM on February 19, 2008

Since Crafty is no longer here I suppose it's up to me to give Phil Rizzuto some love. Here's the tribute thread from last year.

posted by goddam at 07:37 PM on February 19, 2008

Off topic: Have you ever been to the Rose Bowl? A time or two. Mostly Galaxy friendlies about a decade ago. The last time I visited the Rose Bowl was about 5 years ago for the 4th of July festivities. Bad move. You had to show up at noon, park on grass, walk a mile to the bowl and then were subjected to wall to wall adverts for Seabiscuit (which I never did see) blaring louder than the kiddie bands on stage. All this in 90 degree heat. Thank you Clear Channel. Blecch.

posted by lilnemo at 03:44 AM on February 20, 2008

1 Jack Buck 2 Harry Caray 3 Vince Scully 4 Bob Costas

posted by Nakeman at 09:57 AM on February 20, 2008

...Dave Niehaus' induction to the Baseball Broadcasters Hall of Fame... THX, you are absolutely correct. I completely overlooked Niehaus in my selection of the 5, and I am remiss. In my time in Seattle, I really enjoyed listening to him. He is one of the best. I remember when Tito and Edgar Martinez were both with the Mariners, Niehaus used to refer to the getaway day matinees as "The 2 Martinez Lunch".

posted by Howard_T at 12:50 PM on February 20, 2008

Niehaus is one of those announcers that can let you smell the grass while listening to him on the radio. Like I said, he is one of the best and only reasons to tune in to a Mariners game. And while he is a hometown announcer, he does every now and then let his frustration with the team's futility come across. I think during the Bobby Ayala bullpen from hell days as we listened to a five run lead disipate to a tie ball game on almost nothing but walks, Dave yells into his microphone, "Can't anybody get anybody out!?" It was just enough to get me to smile. You knew he shared the frustration of the fans. And one of the best home run calls, not to mention grand slam calls in the game.

posted by THX-1138 at 06:54 PM on February 20, 2008

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