Blog Entry

All time favorites

Posted on: September 5, 2009 9:47 am

I've been a sports fan for over 50 years.  In that time I've had the pleasure of listening to some of the Greatest Sports Broadcasters of all time.  You know, the ones that you would rather listen on the radio than T.V. or turn the volumn down on the T.V. and turn up the radio if they were broadcasting on the radio. 

I got to thinking about this after hearing some sad news about one of those Legends.  On September 4, news came out that Detroit Tiger Legendary Broadcaster Ernie Harwell has incurable cancer.  For 42 of his 55 years in the booth, Ernie was the voice of The Tigers.  Ernie was doing the T.V. broadcast during "The shot heard around the world game", and his last time in the booth was at the World Series back in 2007 making a guest appearence.  Ernie retired from full time Broadcasting in 2002.  We don't know how much longer Ernie will be with us, but I can honestly say that he will be missed by all true sports fans that had the pleasure of listening to him.  THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES ERNIE.

Here is a short list of those that I have hade the pleasure of growing up with and listening to:  Jim MaKay, "Wide World of Sports",  Van Patrick, "The OLD ANNOUNCER" and voice of Spartan Football, Lions Football, and The Armed Forces Game Of The Week".  Harry Carey, Vin Scully, Mel Allen.  Chris Econimackie, Auto Racing, Chris Shenkel, Pro Bowling with Bo Burton.

Like I said it's a short list.  Everybody has their favorites, be they local or national.  I know I didn't include Pat Summerall or John Madden on the list for obvious reasons. 

Who do you remember the most, and enjoyed listening to?  There are a lot of great broadcaster out there, locally and nationally so let's hear who they are and give them their proper dues.




Since: Dec 2, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2009 6:30 pm

All time favorites

Dear Smitty,
I am a 66 year Detroit sports fan from southwest Michigan who also listened to Van Patrick growing up.  I agree with your Dad and Grandfather that he was most knowledgable when it came to the sport he announced.  What I remember best about him was his announcing style for the Lions.  He made even the most dull game sound exciting.  He would start with the center's name "Charlie Ane over the ball on the __ yard line, and the handoff to __ " etc. in an urgent tone of voice that kept you on the edge of your seat like nobody else has even attempted to do.  He also was the best when it came to inventing various phrases or names for things that occurred during a game.  He was the first I ever heard name offsides as "encrouchment of the neurtral zone'' and others I can't recall right now but there were many.  I believe he was responsible for the Lions defensive line being nicknamed the "fearsome foursome" well before the LA Rams stole that name for themselves.  He was just the best ever and I miss his excitement and skill.  I wish there were recordings available of some of the old broadcasts that I could listen to again.  It would be a nostagic trip back in history that would give me goosebumps.  Thanks for writing about him.

Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: September 13, 2009 9:34 pm

All time favorites

Sadly, Van Patrick's days of calling Lions and Tigers games were before my time.  But my dad grew up listening to his calls, and my grandfather has talked about him many times.  I've always been told he was the best when it came to knowledge of the game, both in football and baseball.  He actually played both didn't he?  Not to many play by play guys have that kind of credibility.  The memories of listening to games, like the great one you have of Patrick is what makes sports on the radio such a great thing.
I will never forget Paul Carey's last game with the Tigers.  I stayed in the van listening to the game on a rainy night, while my mom went shopping.  it was great that she didn't make her kid tag along so he could hear Ernie and Paul do one last game together.

While watching football this weekend I was reminded of another announcer I used to enjoy a few years back.  And am happy as can be to listen to again.  Matt Millen.  He may have been the worst thing to happen to Lions football during my lifetime, but in my book he is a first rate color analyst.  It's hard to get over the fact he drove our beloved Lions into the far back corner of the NFL basement.  But I'll still enjoy his calls on Saturdays this year. 

Since: Apr 5, 2009
Posted on: September 10, 2009 9:10 am

All time favorites

Thanks Broncosmitty and On3 thanks for your input.  Smitty I don't know if you were around to listen to Van Patrick or not, but I'm sure you dad was.  If not you missed a truley great Football announcer, He ranks right up their with Ernie.  I remember my time in the Navy, quite Sat nite out at sea, going out on the deck of the ship and turning on the radio to the Armed Forces Radio Network and listening to the Game of the Week.  It didn't matter who was playing, you always felt like you sitting on the 50 yard live, with the best seats in the house.  You could kick back, close your eyes and actually see the action on the field.

On3, I do remember Gorilla Monsoon, and he was fun to listen to.  I got hooked on wrestling as a kid like you.  Where I grew up near East Lansing, Mich. the brother of the Orginal Shiek ownwed an Party Store, where I spent alot of time.  Got to meet The Shiek himself as well as Dick the Bruiser and his Brother The Crusher, and a few others of the now old time legends of wrestling.

Hope this keeps going, woul love to hear from more sports fans.


Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: September 10, 2009 9:05 am

All time favorites

The ones you listed were classics.  Jim Makay was our link to everything sports.  For those of you who grew up before cable remember that Wide World of Sports was the only sports show there was other than local broadcasts.  Chris Economaki WAS auto racing.  I saw him interviewed about a year ago and the stories he told were amazing.

I grew up in St. Louis listening to Hary Caray call the Cardinal games.  Like him, or not, he was a great personality and made you feel like you were at the game.  Jack Buck was another American Classic and his kid seems to be following in his footsteps.

The voice of Kansas Jayhawk basketball and football was a guy named Max Faulkenstein.  Max retired a couple years ago.  When he was a student at KU in the early 40's he managed to get a job calling the Jayhawk games.  He called every football and basketball game for more than 60 years.  His stories of Clyde Lovelette, Wilt Chamberlain, Gale Sayers, John Riggins and all the other Kansas greats are classic.

It is interesting that when you hear any of these guys speak two words you know immediately who they are and are accompanied by a flood of memories.

Let's give credit to Al Michaels who invented the "moment of silence" during great moments in televised sports.  There are times when saying nothing and watching the special moment unfold speaks the loudest.

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: September 10, 2009 7:51 am

All time favorites

Even though he's not technically in the " broadcast booth " he was still an announcer of something that is considered a sport even if it's not by the majority. When I was younger I used to really get into wrastling. The guy I miss most is Gorilla Monsoon. That guy could make a match between two no name jobbers sound like it's the main event at Wrestlemania. He always kept me excited and on the edge of my seat whenever he called matches. I used to want to be a WWE commentator because of Gorilla when I was young. But those days have past, and I still check in from time to time cause you never really lose your enjoyment of something that made you happy as a child. And whenever I do, I still miss Gorilla Monsoon. The guy is a legend in that industry. Another great I'd like to acknowledge since I'm on this subject is Gordon Soley. This guy made the NWA in Florida destination television. He made WCW worth watching in the early days. He was a true legend and is also dearly missed within the industry.

As far as sports, it'd have to be Buck Sr. When he said those words " Touch em all Kirby Puckett, touch em all! " in the game 6 of the '91 series, I was fully hooked on listening to anything he was apart of. He was great. He made it so enjoyable to listen to a game that you really didn't even have to pay attention to the tv, just open your ears and listen.

Well those are my two cents, sorry I went off topic in the first part, but if you're asking whom I truly miss the voice of calling anything I enjoy, I always think of Gorilla cause he brings me back to the good ole days when I was young and carefree without bills to pay Laughing

Since: Apr 2, 2009
Posted on: September 8, 2009 6:10 pm

All time favorites

For me no announcer will ever top the great Ernie Harwell.  There really isn't anyone who I can put on the same level.  He brought the games to us wherever we were, in the car, on the porch or in the stands at Tiger Stadium.  The wonderful stories he told while calling the game made his broadcasts so special for all of us Tigers fans.  Hopefully we appreciated the fact we could hear Ernie 162 times a season while we had the chance.

The other broadcasters who I have always enjoyed as a sports fan in the state of Michigan are Frank Beckman and George Blaha.
Frank had a short stint with the Tigers after Ernie left the booth, but it's his work during Michigan football games that I've always liked the most.  He is a fan, but doesn't hold down the opponent while pulling for the Wolverines.  He and Brandstatter are almost always a better option than their T.V. counterparts.

And what Pistons fan doesn't think of Blaha when they think of the Pistons?  I've never known another play-by-play man for pro basketball.  He helps to bring the players to the fans.  His tendancy to call them by their first names, or his nickname for them, has always made his call of a game seem personal.  The man loves his basketball, and he loves the Spartans maybe even more.  I'm not a State guy, but I'll listen to a Spartan football on a Saturday afternoon when George is calling the game.

Glad that you threw Mel Allen in you short list Blood.  As a kid I always looked forward to TWIB on the weekends, we wasn't Ernie, but he had that classic voice and a true love of the game.  "How 'bout that!"

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