Sportscasters who are turning 80 in 2022; Sports week in history; Nugget on Maury Wills who passed recently


Broadasters turning 80 this year – 2022

Marty Brennaman (Retired)

Greatly admired by the baseball constituency in Southwest Ohio, Marty followed Al Michaels in the Reds booth and called it home for 47 years. Through all his years, Reds games were on a Cincy powerhouse WLW. And certainly in his early years, television coverage was limited. So Marty’s opinions about the club mattered.

Dave Campbell (Retired)

After eight seasons in the big leagues, Soup as he was nicknamed brought a breezy style to the broadcast booth, working for the Padres, and engaging in other undertakings. ESPN, TV and radio. You can put the Colorado Rockies on his resume too.

Rick Jeanneret: (Recently retired)

Finally leaving the club after starting with the Bills during its second season in 1971, 52 years ago. He’s the longest tenured hockey announcer. He signed off for the final time last April 30th. Got a standing ovation upon his short soiree.

Barry Landers (Retired) 

Well known for his mellifluous voice, capturing the success and excitement of the Islanders in the 1980s. A New York boy, he did sports reports for both WINS and WCBS. (Going back to that period, there was a fellow named Bob Lawrence who, best known on Long Island. He did morning drive on WGBB when AM radio was still flickering. We did St. John’s basketball together for a season and he did some Islanders and Nets on his own. Wondered whatever happened to him. Noted that he passed in 2009 at age 70.)

Dave Marash (Retired)

Marash did just about everything, radio and television, news and sports. From CBS nationally to WCTC Radio in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He hosted programs like ESPN’s Baseball Tonight and NBC’s GrandStand. In an eye-blinking move in 2006, he moved to Al Jazeera’s English network version Washington, D.C.

Denny Matthews: (Voice KC Royals)

Original voice of the Kansas City Royals, he started in 1969. This is his 54th season, longest in American League history. He began his career under the tutelage of Buddy Blattner. Denny absorbs info quickly. Through the years, he eased behind the mic and his humor surfaced. His game description is efficient and sufficient, earning him a spot in the Ford Frick wing of the HOF

Bob Neal: (Recently retired)

Atlanta sportscaster. Did lots of NBA basketball for Turner. A mostly retired voice, once prominent on NBA broadcast. His son Dave works for ESPN on College Football Saturdays. Neal partnered with folks like Hubie Brown, also did college football, PGA and the NFL. He now teaches broadcasting at Georgia.

Merrill Reese (Voice Eagles)

The most popular play-by-player in Philly today. Reese didn’t break into the NFL the way he hoped in 1977. He’s been there since, 46 seasons. He replaced Charlie Swift who committed suicide. A husky and cogent voice, Reese tells it as it is. He also did Big Five Basketball. Reese holds the NFL record for time in grade. Merrill puts his whole heart in the game.

Dick Stockton (Retired)

Like many a man his age, Stock went about his business quietly. Now retired, we knew him for all his long work with CBS, Turner, Fox, the Knicks, the Dolphins, and other places. Always solid. Think A’s, Red Sox, Knicks, college hoops, NFL, MLB, NBA and more. Perfectly confident calling the Olympics, basketball, football and baseball.

This Week in History 9/26 – 9/30 

September 26th

1962: Maury Wills becomes first player in MLB history to reach 100 steals in a single season 

The Dodger shortstop accomplished the feat against the Houston Colt .45s and would eventually lock in 104 steals that ’62 seasons. (They were the Colt .45s then. They changed names in ’65 when they moved in to the brand new dome.) Even though the Dodgers eventually lost the game, it was still a special moment in baseball history. This season broke the legendary 96 stolen-base record by Ty Cobb in 1915 and was beaten by Lou Brock in 1974. The Dodgers’ Vin Scully and sidekick Jerry Doggett called it.

(Wills did some MLB  broadcasting and later, many years of the Minors in North Dakota. He says that it helped him stay off the stuff. When he passed, he was days shy of his 90th birthday)

From column contributor Frank Adkisson:

A footnote to the Witt perfect game:  “The game was not televised in Southern California, nor was it even carried on the Angels’ flagship station KMPC.  They were committed to Rams coverage that day.  If memory serves me correctly, it was farmed out to a station licensed to Avalon/Catalina Island and possibly none of their radio network took the game as they were usually Ram affiliates too.  I don’t believe any of the LA-area newspapers had a reporter in Arlington; next-day coverage was limited to wire service reports.  It’s kind of like a 1980s version of Wilt scoring 100; media coverage of that event was nearly non-existent.”

September 27

1987: NFL Players Strike begins 

This would be the last time there would be a work stoppage in the NFL, weeks 4 through 6. Week#3 would not be played and the season was shortened to 15 games. Despite the strike, the season was completed with Super Bowl XXII . Washington known then as the Redskins, beat the Denver Broncos 42-10. The Super Bowl that season was on ABC with play-by-play broadcaster Al Michaels alongside Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf. covering Super Bowl XXII. For Michaels on ABC, it was his first Super Bowl.

September 28

1976: Muhammad Ali Defeats Ken Norton in 15 rounds for Heavyweight Boxing Title 

This bout was fought in Yankee Stadium in a grudge match to break the tie between these heavyweight boxing legends. In a decision where despite the fact that commentators gave the fight to Norton, the decision was given to Ali. Muhammad would later be quoted in an interview with Mark Cronin to say that he believed that Norton won that night and that he would not want to fight Norton again since he could not beat him. Watching fights then were available live, only by purchase. On delay, ABC showed the fight with Howard Cosell who cultivated a relationship with Ali. Cosell insinuated that Muhammad looked, “strongly subdued.” 

September 29

1992: Magic Johnson Announces His Return to Basketball 

The legendary Lakers’ guard announced that he would be stepping away from basketball, announcing to the public that he had contracted HIV.  The next season, Johnson announced that he would be returning to the court for the purple and gold. This happened after Johnson played for Team USA in the Olympics on the Dream Team, known as the greatest group of players assembled. Johnson’s impact on basketball has been immeasurable, helping break down stereotypes regarding HIV/AIDS. He’s since served as an ambassador for the NBA. NBC had the Olympics in ’92 in Barcelona. Marv Albert says it was one of the greatest events he ever called.

September 30

1984: California Angels Pitcher Mike Witt Throws Perfect Game

The 1-0 victory over the Texas Rangers was the Angels’ first perfect game in franchise history, a feat that the Halos have not since repeated. At the time it was was the 11th perfect game in MLB history. The Rangers registered their own perfect game 10 years later, ironically against the Angels. That perfect game took place on the last day of that year’s regular season. The Angels would go on to the ALCS two years later, 1986, but fell to the Boston Red Sox. Angels announcers included Al Conin and Ron Fairly. On Texas’ side Mark Holtz and Eric Nadel were in the booth.


Philip Tepper

Philip Tepper is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Sport Management with a Public Communications minor. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in public relations in sports media.

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1 year ago

I remember the game very well as I worked at KTLA Channel 5 on the News at Ten in sports as a Sports associate. KTLA carried the Angels games, however, we didn’t televised the season ending game. So, we had to record the Rangers Tv coverage with Merle Harmon calling the game. We were the only station in LA who had game highlights, which I put together with an editor.