One of the true broadcast legends, not only in baseball, but also in the entire industry, Joe Garagiola has decided to hang up the microphone after 57 years. The former catcher turned broadcaster made the announcement official at the Arizona Diamondbacks spring training facility on Wednesday. Garagiola had been a part-time announcer for the Diamondbacks television broadcast team.
Joe Garagiola is most likely the last of a breed in the broadcast industry who literally did it all. He hosted the “Tonight Show”, co-hosted the “Today Show”, MC’ed game shows like “To Tell the Truth”, “Sale of the Century” and “He Said, She Said”. He hosted the Westminster Dog Show for many years, wrestling shows, the Orange Bowl Parade and we haven’t even mentioned baseball yet.
Joe Garagiola began his broadcasting career after retiring as a catcher with the N.Y. Giants. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. He called Cardinals games on KMOX radio from 1955 to 1962.
He began his nearly 30-year association with NBC in 1961 doing baseball game of the week broadcasts with another legendary announcer, Bob Wolff. He also worked Yankees broadcasts in the mid-sixties. On NBC’s “Game of the Week”, Garagiola worked as both a color analyst and play-by-play announcer, a rarity in the sports broadcast industry. He worked with other Hall of Fame announcers Curt Gowdy, Vin Scully and Tony Kubek calling three All-Star Games, three NLCS and three World Series.
Joe Garagiola is one of those broadcast personalities that made every viewer feel they were his friend. He wasn’t fancy. He didn’t have any catch phrases. He was professional and used humor without detracting from the game he was calling, a skill many of today’s broadcasters should learn.
In 1991, Garagiola was awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence putting him on the baseball Hall of Fame.
Click here to view some of Joe Garagiola’s comments at his retirement press conference.
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