News and Notes

Halby’s Morsels: Jack and Joe Buck, network’s best ever father-son duo; MLB ratings: 15 teams down, 13 up

Changes coming for Marlins radio?; 15 sports announcers who also attended law school; John Sterling's subs as Yankee voice slows down


Would you agree? The best-ever father and son network television duo (not local e.g. Marty -local- and Thom Brennaman – network):

The Bucks, Joe at the fore and Jack

Jack Buck and Joe Buck

Prevalent years – Jack:

1960-91, ABC, CBS and NBC;

AFL, NFL and MLB +


1966 and 68 NFL Championship Games

1970 Super Bowl,

1971-73, NFC Championship Games

                                                                         1990-91 World Series

Prevalent years – Joe:

1994-Present, Fox



1996, 1998, and 2000-Present; World Series

2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017; Super Bowls

Runner-Up Father and son duo:

Marv and Kenny Albert

Others include:

Rick, Jon and Bret Barry,   Skip and Chip Caray,   Bob and Dan Fouts;  Bob and Brian Griese,  Will and Sean McDonough,        Phil and Chris Simms


Changes for Marlins Radio next season?

Reports in Miami this past winter by longtime radio sports talkie Andy Slater indicated that Marlins radio announcers Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner were asked to take a salary cut and to cut down on the number of games they broadcast. When the report surfaced, there was no measurable groundswell of fan support for the two broadcasters. Both men eventually came to terms with the team.

The Marlins current contract with their flagship WINZ apparently expires at the end of the season. Van Horne turns 80 in August and Geffner has been criticized for poor fundamentals. Earlier in his career, Geffner left Red Sox and Padres radio jobs.

Other baseball announcers 80 or older are Bob Uecker, 85, John Sterling , 81 and Mike Shannon, 80. Neither now works an entire schedule. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald noted in an earlier piece that Dave is missing 20 games this season. It sounds like the cut back could have been against Van Horne’s wishes.

If Van Horne is asked back, he will likely face a reduced schedule again.



Vin Scully covered Navy Basketball in 1950

Did you know that in 1950, Baltimore sportscasting institution Vince Bagli was broadcasting Navy basketball on radio? After the game, a young fellow at the Fieldhouse, doing the Navy game on TV asked Bagli for a ride to the train station. Bagli gladly obliged. The gentlemen was 22 year old Vin Scully. Last year, Bagli told me that it was the only time he ever met Scully and he’ll never forget it.


John Sterling’s subs

Yankees’ 31 season radio man John Sterling has been taking some time off. I didn’t hear Ryan Ruocco fill in on radio but I do know that he’s done television games too, pitching in for the recuperating Michael Kay on Yankees TV. Ryan has gotten some good reviews from the New York media critics.

I did hear Chris Carrino, the Nets basketball announcer do one Yankee game while Sterling took a night off. Chris’ pacing, voice inflection, description and command were superb. His intonations, his unhesitating present-tense call was relaxed and right out of the Red Barber textbook. Chris sounded like a veteran who’s done baseball his whole life.

Meanwhile, a couple broadcasters are carping about the fact that the Yankees aren’t reaching into their farm system to find a fill in for Sterling. Agreed. They too deserve a shot to audition their wares when Sterling takes time off.


MLB Ratings not sparkling

According to a first half analysis of Nielsen data by Sports Business Journal:

The regional cable ratings for 13 MLB teams are up, led by San Diego +81% and the Minnesota Twins + 41%

Ratings for 15 MLB teams are down, San Francisco and Texas, each – 31%. And despite their continuing success, the Yankees surprisingly – 26%

ESPN, Fox and MLB Network are roughly flat vs. last year.


Train to be a lawyer and become a sports announcer:

Broadcasters through the years who also had legal educations, some of whom also practiced, are :

  1. Mel Allen (late- Yankees, NBC)
  2. Jay Bilas (ESPN)
  3. Nick Buoniconti (late HBO)
  4. Howard Cosell (late-ABC)
  5. Cris Collinsworth (Fox, NBC)
  6. Len Elmore (ESPN, CBS)
  7. Reid Gettys (various)
  8. Rod Gilmore (ESPN)
  9. Russ Hodges (late Giants)
  10. Charlie Jones (late NBC, ABC)
  11. Gordon McLendon (Liberty Network)
  12. John Michael (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  13. Bill Munday (late NBC Radio, Georgia)
  14. George Ratterman (late NBC)
  15. Jerry Schemmel (Colorado Rockies)
  16. Gary Thorne (Orioles)
  17. John Ward (U of Tennessee)
  18. Steve Young (ESPN)



Former MLB play-by-player Ken Levine interviews icon Jim Burrows

Readers of the publication (and hordes of other fans) are familiar with the multi-talented Ken Levine, a former MLB play-by-player and gifted comedy writer whose credits include Cheers and M.A.S.H.

On his Hollywood & Levine podcast, the writer interviews legendary sitcom director Jim Burrows, whose work spans many decades of pop culture classics and heavy hitters such as Friends, Will & Grace and Cheers. Ken calls Jim the Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken of comedy directing, given the fact that the 78 year old has stamped 1,000 episodes of various sitcoms.

The two-parter is linked above.  In part two,  Burrows shares some behind the scenes stories about working with the Friends cast, and takes listeners through the up and down process of directing a live sitcom.


Longtime NBA ref and current ESPN rules expert Javie ordained

NBA fans know the name Steve Javie, a long time referee. Steve now does commentary for ESPN, chiming in when there are rule interpretations or complex calls.

Former NBA ref and  ESPN contributor, Steve Javie

Interesting piece on Steve linked below. Last month, he was ordained a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church, serving in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. It’s a goal he set out to accomplish some 30 years ago. Now retired, he’s reached it. Javie is shortened for Jaworowski. He comes from a strong Catholic family. His uncle Msgr. Anthony was one of the most respected priests in the Philadelphia area. You might not know that Steve’s dad, Stan Javie was an NFL football referee who worked four Super Bowls.

From NBA ref to permanent deacon, Steve Javie’s keeping his whistle




Did you know?

Larry Baer, the Giants CEO , did the radio broadcasts for the Oakland A’s in 1978?


David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
4 years ago

GREAT stuff! Certainly, at the network level, Jack and Joe have to be #1. I suspect some people would argue that, overall, it might be Harry and Skip? I also think of Marv’s line about doing everything for so many years, and then he was cutting back and had some time off and called Kenny about dinner. Kenny replied, “Not tonight, Dad, I have a game.” Marv said he was so proud of that. One more broadcaster who went to law school: Jim Britt, who did Boston and then Cleveland games and some network work in the 1940s and 1950s.… Read more »

Frank Adkisson
4 years ago

If I’m not mistaken, I believe Al Wisk (Rams, Royals, Angels) also was a lawyer.

John Baker
4 years ago

How would Harry and Skip Caray be classified? Local, I suppose although both were somewhat national too.

Vin’s only other job besides the Dodgers was at WTOP Radio in DC in summer of ‘49 into the winter of ‘50.. which would explain how he and the great Vince Bagli would cross paths.

The vastly underrated Dewayne Staats should be next year’s Frick winner.