Monday, February 10, 2014

Longest-Serving Active MLB Broadcasters

With the death of Ralph Kiner last week, and of Jerry Coleman last month, I was wondering just how many "old-time broadcasters" are left.

Certainly, Vin Scully is still with the Dodgers, the last link to their Brooklyn days (that most of us know of, anyway).

The following list shows only how long the broadcaster in question has been with his current team. I list the longest-serving current one with each of the 30 current MLB teams, plus anyone else who has been with them for at least 20 years. (For Arizona and Tampa Bay, of course, that last stat won't be possible until Opening Day 2017; for Washington, not until Opening Day 2024.)

Studio analysts don't count, only guys actually in the booth calling the game.

57th, Vin Scully, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1958 (That's the team's entire L.A. history. He arrived with the Dodgers in Brooklyn in 1950, so if he makes it to Opening Day this year, and he seems to be in good health at age 86, it will be 65 seasonss. Even Connie Mack and Phil Rizzuto weren't on a single team's payroll for that long. A recipient of the Ford Frick Award, the broadcasters' equivalent of being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

57th, Jamie Jarrin, Los Angeles Dodgers, 1958 After moving to the U.S. from Ecuador in 1955, he had never seen a baseball game. But he has broadcast every game the franchise has played as a Los Angeles team, all in Spanish, and has received the Frick Award from the Hall of Fame. He has been joined by Dodger legend Fernando Valenzuela.)

46th, Denny Matthews, Kansas City Royals, 1969 (That's the franchise's entire history, although he now has a reduced workload. Frick Award.)

44th, Bob Uecker, Milwaukee Brewers, 1971 (One season short of the franchise's entire history. Despite all the jokes, including his own, about his ineptitude as a player, he was the first Wisconsin native to play for the Milwaukee Braves. Frick Award.)

43rd, Mike Shannon, St. Louis Cardinals, 1972 (Also played for them. John Rooney, although a relative newcomer to St. Louis, has been broadcasting for nearly 30 years.)

41st, Marty Brennaman, Cincinnati Reds, 1974 (Good timing, as they won the World Series in 1975 and '76. Frick Award. His son Thom is also a broadcaster, and has worked with the Reds since 2007.)

36th, Eric Nadel, Texas Rangers, 1979 (He received this year's Frick Award.)

35th, Tom Grieve, Texas Rangers, 1980 (also played for them)

35th, Ted Leitner, San Diego Padres, 1980 (Taking over for Jerry Coleman in Coleman's ill-advised year as manager, stayed on with him. Dick Enberg's long broadcasting career brought him to the Padres' booth in 2010, although his best-known baseball work was for the then-California Angels in the 1960s and '70s.)

34th, Jerry Howarth, Toronto Blue Jays, 1981 (Buck Martinez, who also played for and managed them, broadcast for them from 1987 to 1999, and returned to their booth in 2010, so this will be his 18th season in their booth.)

32nd, Ken Harrelson, Chicago White Sox, 1982 (missing one season as team GM; played for several teams, but not the White Sox)

32nd, Steve Blass, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1983 (Also pitched for them. Lanny Frattare retired in 2008, after 33 seasons.)

32nd, Joe Castiglione, Boston Red Sox, 1983

32nd, Dick Bremer, Minnesota Twins, 1983

32nd, Rick Rizzs, Seattle Mariners, 1983

30th, Milo Hamilton, Houston Astros, 1985 (Though with a reduced workload, this will be his 54th year in an MLB booth, which included calling Henry Aaron's 715th home run for the Braves in 1974. Frick Award.)

30th, Duane Kuiper, San Francisco Giants, 1985 (Also played for them. Jon Miller has been broadcasting MLB games since 1974, entering his 41st season, but continuously with the Giants only since 1997, his 18th. He's won the Frick Award, Kuiper hasn't.)

28th, Bill Brown, Houston Astros, 1987

26th, John Sterling, New York Yankees, 1989 (Previously did games for the Braves; also in New York, for the Nets, Islanders, WHA's New York Raiders & WFL's New York Stars, and hosted a sports-talk show on WMCA as far back as 1971. His career is high, and it is far. Though some people wish he was gone.)

26th, Gary Cohen, New York Mets, 1989 (A Queens native and a Met fan from Day One.)

25th, Tom Hamilton and Rick Manning, Cleveland Indians, 1990 (Manning played for them.)

24th, Ed Farmer, Chicago White Sox, 1991 (Also played for them.)

23rd, Michael Kay, New York Yankees, 1992 (Previously worked with Sterling on Nets broadcasts.)

22nd, Mike Krukow, San Francisco Giants, 1993 (Also played for them.)

22nd, Fred Manfra, Baltimore Orioles, 1993 (Joe Angel started with them in 1988, left in 1993, and returned in 2004.)

22nd, Jim Price, Detroit Tigers, 1993

22nd, Felo Ramirez, Miami Marlins, 1993 (Now 90 years old, the Cuban émigré he was doing Spanish broadcasts on radio well before the team then named the Florida Marlins arrived. In addition, Dave Van Horne has broadcast for the Marlins since 2001, and previously did so for the Montreal Expos, 1969 to 2000, their entire history to that point, so that's 46 seasons in total. Both Ramirez and Van Horne have received the Frick Award.)

21st, Greg Brown, Pittsburgh Pirates, 1994

19th, Ken Korach, Oakland Athletics, 1996

19th, Pat Hughes, Chicago Cubs, 1996 (The deaths of Harry Caray and Ron Santo, and the move of Steve Stone across town to the White Sox, have seriously dented the Cub announcers' institutional memory.)

17th, Larry Andersen, Philadelphia Phillies, 1998 (Took over as the Phils' player-turned-broadcaster after the death of Hall-of-Famer Richie Ashburn. With the deaths of Ashburn, Harry Kalas and Andy Musser, and the recent firing of Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews, the Phils' broadcasting seniority has gone way down in recent years. Incredibly, Bill Campbell, who broadcast for them from 1963 to 1970, is not only still alive, but still doing a radio show.)

17th, Dewayne Staats and Todd Kalas, Tampa Bay Rays, 1998 (The franchise's entire history; Staats, owner of the best name in the history of baseball broadcasting, previously did Yankee games 1990-94; Kalas is the son of legendary Phillies voice Harry.)

17th, Greg Schulte, Arizona Diamondbacks, 1998 (the franchise's entire history)

13th, Terry Smith, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 2002

13th, Jack Corrigan and Drew Goodman, Colorado Rockies, 2002

10th, Chip Caray, Atlanta Braves, 2005 (The Braves' longest-serving continuous announcer, son of former Braves announcer Skip and grandson of St. Louis/Chicago legend Harry, has only been there since 2005 because of a major shakeup in 2007. Chip previously broadcast for the Cubs, as did his grandfather before him. Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton, who hasn't broadcast for any of the teams for whom he played, broadcast for the Braves from 1989 to 2006, went to the Nationals for 2 years, and returned, so this will be his 24th season with them. Although a native of Alabama, he was already in the minor leagues when the Braves moved to Atlanta, so he wasn't able to grow up  a fan of theirs.)

10th, Charlie Slowes, Washington Nationals, 2005 (Previously with the Rays for their entire history to that point, 1998-2004.)

So that's 10 Frick Award winners currently broadcasting: Scully, Jarrin, Matthews, Uecker, Brennaman, Nadel, Hamilton, Ramirez, Van Horne and Miller.

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