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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Arizona Diamondbacks broadcaster Joe Garagiola retiring

Maybe now…this woozy, Ballantine Blastingly hangover I’ve had since Joe Garagiola took over for Mel Allen in ‘65 will have run its course.

Wednesday, during a scheduled 12:30 p.m. news conference at Salt River Fields, Joe will stand before a throng of reporters — and an army of lifelong friends, to be sure — and announce he is retiring after a broadcasting career that’s lasted 57 years.

It’s enough to make even Vin Scully weep.

But knowing Joe, he’ll turn his retirement speech into a celebration, complete with a slew of witty one-liners and magical memories from a career that ultimately earned him a place in the broadcaster’s wing at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

As fellow baseball writer and azcentral sports colleague Nick Piecoro put it Tuesday when we talked about news of Garagiola’s retirement, “I could ask him 30 questions tomorrow at his press conference and that still wouldn’t be enough,” he said, adding: “You could talk baseball with Joe forever and he’d have an anecdote for everything.”

Repoz Posted: February 20, 2013 at 05:59 AM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media

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   1. depletion Posted: February 20, 2013 at 09:03 AM (#4372430)
When I was a little kid I'd watch the Game of the Week, announced by Joe, with my older brother, Methusela. Congratulations on a great career, Joe.
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4372457)
When I was a little kid I'd watch the Game of the Week, announced by Joe, with my older brother, Methusela Julio Franco

FF
   3. Hack Wilson Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM (#4372460)
When I was a kid Joe Garagiola was the Cubs' catcher.
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4372462)
Joe parlayed a nice little career into a tremendous career in broadcasting. Good luck, Joe.
   5. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4372494)
Garagiola's first pro team was the 1942 Springfield (Illinois) Cardinals; he was just 16 years old. (Springfield's manager was Clifton (Runt) Marr, whose first pro team was the Hiawatha (Kansas) Indians in 1912.)

Seventy years in baseball. God bless you, Joe.
   6. Hello Rusty Kuntz, Goodbye Rusty Cars Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4372525)
I grew up with that 1912 Hiawatha team. My favorite players were Calvin?, H. Deal?, and Shimmael?.
   7. Hack Wilson Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4372542)
Shimmael?.

Shimmael had a famous post-baseball career:

"Shimmael, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated!"

(I'm ashamed to admit I know this.)
   8. phredbird Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4372705)
i enjoyed listening to joe on the game of the week when i was a kid. i liked him even more when i found out he was a boyhood friend of yogi berra. they grew up in the same neighborhood in st. louis.
   9. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 02:47 PM (#4372758)
My first encounter with Garagiola was in the form of a book from the library when I was maybe 11, Baseball is a Funny Game. Had to have been one of the first baseball books I ever read.
   10. Jick Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4372818)
9 - Me too. That one, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle's books, and John R. Tunis.
   11. Perry Posted: February 20, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4372836)
Made a nice little career for himself outside baseball, too -- game show host, the Today Show, guest-hosted the Tonight Show a bunch. Based on McCarver and Garagiola, I guess we can look forward to hearing Yadier Molina's broadcasts from about 2020 to 2060.
   12. phredbird Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4372851)
"Shimmael, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated!"

(I'm ashamed to admit I know this.)


i thought it was 'schlemiel, schlemazel ...'
   13. Hack Wilson Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4372852)
I remember reading a Bob Feller biography when he was still active but yeah John R. Tunis books were great. (Was the first baseman on his team nicknamed highpockets?)
   14. Walt Davis Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4372853)
I had no idea he was still going. He's been broadcasting longer than I've been alive. A good innings for sure.
   15. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4372860)
but yeah John R. Tunis books were great.

I also loved his basketball books
   16. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 20, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4372893)
I think I read (which is to say, I think our small public library only had) Tunis' Kid from Tomkinsville. As I've mentioned before, my favorites as a kid were Duane Decker's Blue Sox novels.

I see that in this book, the author (whom I know only as a columnist for the unfortunately just-now-defunct Comic Buyers Guide; I know she was a BNF once upon a time as Mike Nolan) adjudges Tunis as "The Best of the Best."
   17. Brian Posted: February 20, 2013 at 10:39 PM (#4373119)
Never read Tunis but I loved the Decker books.
   18. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: February 20, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4373140)
It’s that charisma and uncle-like personality that has always made him among our favorites, beginning all the way back to when he was a co-host of NBC’s “Today Show,” a frequent guest host of “The Tonight Show” or his countless appearances on programs from “To Tell the Truth” and “What’s My Line?” to co-hosting coverage of the annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York.


I remember him on the Today Show, but not on Tonight.

YOu know how old he is? 87. 87! May I be vertical at that age.
   19. SandyRiver Posted: February 21, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4373212)
I remember reading a Bob Feller biography when he was still active but yeah John R. Tunis books were great. (Was the first baseman on his team nicknamed highpockets?)

Nope. He was the cocky young power-hitting OF. (Though it's 45-50 yr since I read those books, so memory may be faulty.)
   20. Delorians Posted: February 21, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4373260)
Watched him on Saturdays as a kid before all the games were on cable.
Had no idea he was still broadcasting.
Had no idea he was still alive.
This is intended as a compliment.
   21. Hack Wilson Posted: February 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4373267)
(Was the first baseman on his team nicknamed highpockets?)

Nope. He was the cocky young power-hitting OF.


You have a better memory than me-of course for me its 55-60 years ago.

Tunis' sixth Dodgers novel, Highpockets, came out in 1948. The title is the nickname for Cecil McDade, the talented rookie outfielder whose arrogance causes problems on and off the field.
   22. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: February 21, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4373275)
Half of my favorite announcing duo, with Vin Scully.
   23. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 21, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4373280)
I remember him on the Today Show, but not on Tonight.


After the Beatles decided to form Apple, John and Paul went on the Tonight Show to announce the new company to their American fans. Unfortunately, Joe Garagiola happened to be guest-hosting that night, and didn't appear to have ever heard of the Beatles before.
   24. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 21, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4373290)
After the Beatles decided to form Apple, John and Paul went on the Tonight Show to announce the new company to their American fans. Unfortunately, Joe Garagiola happened to be guest-hosting that night, and didn't appear to have ever heard of the Beatles before.

In the late 1960's, Garagiola sounded like Bob Feller whenever the subject got around to cultural changes, both on and off the diamond.
   25. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 21, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4373292)
I had no idea he was still going. He's been broadcasting longer than I've been alive. A good innings for sure.

Likewise.

Truth be told, Joe wasn't that great a baseball broadcaster, at least as PBP guy -- which is why he became a color man when NBC was able to get Vin Scully as their lead baseball PBP guy.(*) Together, they were a top-notch duo. (Vin: "Can you believe this ballgame at Shea!?" Joe: "Oh, brother." Groundball to Buckner ....)

A friend of mine served as the organist at the 1989 Congressional baseball game, and I went with him and our seats happened to be right behind Joe G., one of the guests of honor. I kind of thought the other was Bart Giamatti, but a quick Google search was unable to confirm. Joe G. was a witty raconteur in the baseball sense and had 'em rolling in the aisles at times.

(*) Of course, if one were to engage in a parlor game to answer the question, "What is the least cosmically-possible shame-inducing professional demotion?", leading with, "Being bumped out of a baseball broadcasting gig in favor of Vin Scully" seems like a pretty good idea.
   26. zonk Posted: February 21, 2013 at 11:42 AM (#4373302)
My first encounter with Garagiola was in the form of a book from the library when I was maybe 11, Baseball is a Funny Game. Had to have been one of the first baseball books I ever read.


Heh - me too!

In fact, a few months back -- I cleaned out some boxes of books, taking about four full crates of old paperbacks and others to a used bookstore for trade -- and agonized precisely over my tattered copy of this and ultimately decided it belonged in the pile of keepers.
   27. OsunaSakata Posted: February 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4373316)
I remember Joe Garagiola hosting the game show Sale of the Century. Was it Bill James who thought Joe Garagiola was responsible for turning the image of Yogi Berra into a clown that people forget he's a inner circle HOF?
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 21, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4373342)
My first encounter with Garagiola was in the form of a book from the library when I was maybe 11, Baseball is a Funny Game. Had to have been one of the first baseball books I ever read.


Heh - me too!

In fact, a few months back -- I cleaned out some boxes of books, taking about four full crates of old paperbacks and others to a used bookstore for trade -- and agonized precisely over my tattered copy of this and ultimately decided it belonged in the pile of keepers.


Just as well, as it likely would have wound up in the "50 cents a box" pile. There are 106 copies of that book on Amazon right now, beginning at a penny.
   29. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 21, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4373405)
Which is to say $4, with shipping factored in. Though I see the cheapest two are actually $3.99.
   30. pyrite Posted: February 21, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4373412)
#6 -- Tremendous. I was always a Smith? fan, myself.

1912 Hiawatha Indians

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