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Saturday, August 02, 2014

Pete Van Wieren, longtime Braves broadcaster, passes away

Pete Van Wieren, the longtime Atlanta Braves broadcaster, passed away peacefully this morning at the age of 69 after his long battle with cancer.

Another all-time great gone.

PeteF3 Posted: August 02, 2014 at 01:09 PM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, obituaries

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   1. Sweatpants Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4763073)
Rest in peace, Pete. One of the voices of my childhood.
   2. Dr. Vaux Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4763074)
He was a great broadcaster.

It says a lot about him that I remembered making this post eight years ago:
Dr. Vaux Posted: December 19, 2006 at 10:40 PM (#2265271)
The word "class" is tossed around too often, but according to the generally-understood aspect of its meaning, Pete Van Wieren is the epitome of it.

   3. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:38 PM (#4763077)
Bummer.

For those of us of a certain age those 1980's Cubs and Braves teams were like our favorite team even if they weren't. To be able to put on WGN in the summer, during the day, and watch baseball was amazing back then. Same with TBS. I used to love watching Murphy, McMurtrey, Garber, Horner, etc.

RIP, Pete.
   4. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: August 02, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4763078)
Pete was never going to be as well-known or beloved as Skip Caray, whose mordant smart-assery understandably struck a chord with Braves' fans in the 80's. But he brought a smooth competence and dorky likability to every broadcast, and he'll be greatly missed.
   5. frannyzoo Posted: August 02, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4763088)
Always hated the Braves, very much liked Van Wieren. RIP. As mentioned above, the Superstations were baseball in that era, and I spent many a university day enjoying Van Wieren not only once, but twice in those replays during/after Letterman. Gone too soon from the booth, and, as I age, gone before 70 seems way too soon altogether.
   6. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: August 02, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4763098)
For those of us of a certain age those 1980's Cubs and Braves teams were like our favorite team even if they weren't. To be able to put on WGN in the summer, during the day, and watch baseball was amazing back then. Same with TBS. I used to love watching Murphy, McMurtrey, Garber, Horner, etc.


I liked the Braves right up until '91 (i keed, kinda). I probably watched the Cubs more, if only because I could get away with it on a hot summer day.
   7. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 02, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4763104)
For those of us of a certain age those 1980's Cubs and Braves teams were like our favorite team even if they weren't. To be able to put on WGN in the summer, during the day, and watch baseball was amazing back then. Same with TBS. I used to love watching Murphy, McMurtrey, Garber, Horner, etc.


Always hated the Braves, very much liked Van Wieren. RIP. As mentioned above, the Superstations were baseball in that era, and I spent many a university day enjoying Van Wieren not only once, but twice in those replays during/after Letterman. Gone too soon from the booth, and, as I age, gone before 70 seems way too soon altogether.


Right on. I'm a lifelong Michigan resident, but I associate the likes of Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Skip Caray, and Pete Van Wieren with my childhood baseball viewing as much as I do Ernie Harwell.
   8. pthomas Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4763117)
Add to WGN and TBS: My cable systems also carried WWOR and the Met's broadcasts. Ralph Kiner was great, and even Tim McCarver was likeable back then.
   9. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4763132)
I also had the TBS/WGN/WOR setup. When the schedules aligned perfectly you could watch the Cubs in the afternoon, the Mets in the evening, and the Braves playing a West Coast game late. As a 12-year-old that was living.

RIP Pete Van Wieren. He was a really good announcer, who paired perfectly with a wonderfully scrappy cast and always managed to keep things moving long in a professional manner. He spent a lot of time playing straight man to Skip Carey (and Ernie Johnson Sr, and to Don Sutton in a different way) and did it very, very well.
   10. Bruce Markusen Posted: August 02, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4763155)
Growing up in the seventies and eighties, I remember listening to the TBS trio of Ernie Johnson, Skip Caray, and Pete Van Wieren. It's hard to believe that they are all gone, just like the memorable Mets trio of Kiner, Murphy, and Nelson.

On the field, those Braves teams (except for '82) were mostly awful, but Johnson, Caray and Van Wieren made the games more bearable and fun. Johnson played it down the middle, while Van Wieren brought the professorial, thinking man approach and Caray supplied the sarcasm and wit. A very good combination.

As a bonus, they all seemed to like each other, too.
   11. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: August 02, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4763162)
What everybody else said about the 80s and TBS. I hate getting older. RIP Pete
   12. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:02 PM (#4763224)
I was born in 1974, and fell in love with baseball in about 1981-1982. Here in New Hampshire, the TV options were a handful of Red Sox games a week, WWOR with McCarver and Kiner, USA Network briefly had an MLB package, Monday Night Baseball...and a ton of Braves games on WTBS. Even though I was a huge Red Sox fan, I watched the Braves almost every night because they were on almost every night. It was brilliant by Ted Turner to do this, in that it helped build national awareness for his Braves.

When I think back to being a kid between the ages of about 8 and 15, there are three soundtracks which I remember like they were yesterday:

Ned Martin and Bob Montgomery
Tim McCarver and Ralph Kiner
Ernie, Skip, and Pete. I loved listening those three, and I can clearly hear Pete Van Wieren in my memories. This makes me feel sad...and a little bit older, too.

RIP, Pete - thanks for making my childhood memories a little better, and a little crisper.
   13. Astroenteritis Posted: August 02, 2014 at 09:12 PM (#4763228)
Lot of fond memories of listening to Pete and co. when younger. Often the TBS game was the only game on at the time, and those guys made it enjoyable even for those of us with no rooting interest in the Braves.
   14. pthomas Posted: August 03, 2014 at 02:55 AM (#4763302)
The Braves had some bad teams in the 80's, and it was fun watching them develop the pitchers that went into the HOF a few weeks ago. But they were sometimes really bad. The funniest thing I remember was watching a game late in another lost season, and I was a bit of a couch potato barely paying attention. The Braves threw a runner out at first....the first baseman tossed the ball to the mound....and the Braves began trotting off the field. The line score logo popped up...and suddenly, Skip Caray is blurting loudly....."Wait!!!! That is only the second out!!!!!....."

The screen faded out to the commercial, which ran about 40 seconds before the game popped back on as the Brave's pitcher was finally returning to the mound......one of the next shots was of the other team's dugout, with players and coaches holding hats and gloves and hands in front of their mouths so they couldn't be seen laughing out loud. I'll never forget it....
   15. bunyon Posted: August 03, 2014 at 03:40 AM (#4763305)
He spent a lot of time playing straight man to Skip Carey (and Ernie Johnson Sr, and to Don Sutton in a different way) and did it very, very well.

Yeah, in my opinion, Pete made Skip. Ernie as well. Skip could easily be unlikeable (hell, I know a lot of BBTF posters who didn't, in fact, like him) but Pete seemed to keep in check just a bit all the while playing the straight man. Throughout comedic history, the straight man is vitally important and Pete was awesome. They all also clearly loved baseball and the Braves without being unable to appreciate the other team. RIP Pete and I hope, should there be an afterlife, that those three are now calling a game in a cornfield.
   16. Bunny Vincennes Posted: August 03, 2014 at 07:24 AM (#4763317)
8. pthomas Posted: August 02, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4763117)
Add to WGN and TBS: My cable systems also carried WWOR and the Met's broadcasts. Ralph Kiner was great, and even Tim McCarver was likeable back then.


Thanks for mentioning the inclusion of WWOR. As a Cubs fan, I watched tons of Braves games on TBS also, and the Mets on WWOR, because baseball is baseball, but what was awesome about WWOR was Big East Basketball during the transformation of the Big East into the powerhouse hoops conference it became. Yes, ESPN had Big East Monday, my favorite night of the week in the winter, but WWOR covered the Johnnies, etc. I saw tons of Nova, Syracuse, etc. That was a golden age of cable.
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: August 03, 2014 at 08:54 AM (#4763325)
Totally agree with #16. Call me the old guy that remembers the good ole days, but '80s cable was great for two reasons:

1) It was still novel. The idea that I went from having about 11 channels to having dozens was incredible. I feel like I appreciated having choices so much more at that time. Today, I have no idea how many channels I have access to - 200? 300? I watch about 4.

2) The programming seemed more valuable. Watching a Mets, Expos or Braves game (despite not being a fan of any of the three teams) was so cool, and watching games on TV was a finite resource. As an AL guy, when the Padres were playing the Braves, I wanted to watch the game, becuase it would otherwise be tough to get an actual look at the Padres that year. Who is this young Gwynn player? Well, if the Padres were on TBS, I had to make it appointment TV to find out. The good news about today's access is that no player, game, or team is terribly difficult to see. That's obviously a big positive compared to the 1980s. What's too bad is that the excitement, anticipation, and "specialness" of a broadcast is gone. It is tough to explain that to my kids today...

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