Standout voices by sport as broadcasting begins its second century; To another 100 years!






Best analyst – John Madden

Boxing – Don Dunphy

College football – Keith Jackson

College basketball – Dick Enberg

Golf -Jim Nantz

MLB – Vin Scully

NBA – Marv Albert

NHL- Dan Kelly

NFL – Al Michaels

Olympics – Jim McKay

Studio – Bob Costas

Tennis – Dick Enberg



George Blaha–Detroit Pistons Radio/ TV, Mich State – Rooter, fair, fifth decade, tired

Mark Boyle– Indiana Pacers Radio – Sooth delivery, never hurried

Lyell Bremser–Nebraska football — Four decades of mostly good years, no longer

Marty Brennaman–Reds– Owned Cincinnati. Not afraid to express his views 

Jack Brickhouse–Cubs, Bears + — Likely the most popular sports voice ever in the Windy City 

Kevin Calabro–Seattle/Portland NBA — Galvanizing voice, Midwest roots, wears team colors

Bill Campbell–Warriors, Eagles Phils — Did everything in town except collect the tolls

Skip Caray–Braves, Hawks — A sardonic grin and trenchant comments

Harry Caray–Cards, Cubs + — One of baseball’s great voices, Can sell anything on-air

Herb Carneal–Twins — Soft spoken, Did his job quietly for decades

Joe Castiglione–Red Sox– When Joe is on and there is a breeze, Fenway can’t be far away

Gary Cohen–Mets — His command of the mic is redolent of the Ivy schools

Jerry Coleman –Padres + Known for his puzzling malaprops and his heroic combat missions 

Jack Corrigan –Rockies – TV in Cleveland to radio in Denver, He’s built his people capital

Gene Deckerhoff–TB Bucs, Fl. State – Throaty and a we or they guy. Always honest

Jim Donovan –Cle Brown – Puts his heart into broadcasts, Still, downright honest

Eddie Doucette–Milw Bucs – Alcindor, the ’71 championship and a host of catchy cliches

Jimmy Dudley–Indians, Pilots – Eloquent and respected except by his antagonistic partner 

Jim Durham–Chi Bulls, Dal Mavs – Right up there among the NBA’s better radio talent

Woody Durham–UNC Football and basketball – Absolutely admired by Heels fans 

Wes Durham – Atl Falcons – Southern drawl and never overbearing – from radio to TV easily

Bob Elson–Chi ‘Sox – The Commander. If you couldn’t find him, check out the wagering houses

Max Falkenstein–Kansas U- KU through and through, 60 years on-air. “A deliberate foul shooter”

Don Fischer–Indiana U – 50+ years, accurate, well oiled machine and moments with Bob Knight

Jack Fleming–WVU, Steelers, Bulls – Big in the hills and three years with NBA’s Bulls

Walt Frazier–NY Knicks — It’s a Ewing doing and Oak’s got the stroke; He’s smiling either way 

Hilliard Gates–IU, Ft. Wayne Pistons – As popular in Indiana as they come 

Marty Glickman–Knicks, Football Giants – Wrote the book for basketball and superb at football

Eli Gold–Alabama Football – The Alabama voice told me his favorite today is Kevin Harlan

Mike Gorman–Boston Celts TV – Smooth, identified with the Celts and ESPN’s early ABig East years

Milo Hamilton–Houston Astros Full of smoke, strong voice and memorable calls

Merle Harmon–Milw, Tx, NY Jets – Upbeat and resonating, “Joe Willie looks and throws”

Tom Harmon–USC Football – Yesteryear, athlete, actor and play-by-player

Hawk Harrelson–Chi W/Sox- Like Dizzy Dean, he brings  his own language and charm to work

Ernie Harwell–Det, Bal, NY, Bklyn – A warm blanket and a soft breeze

Chick Hearn–LA Lakers – Stylized and unique. Jerry West: Like putting a baby in the cradle

Bill Hillgrove–Steelers, Pitt –Pittsburghers love their own and Bill’s been one forever

Dan Hoard–Bengals, UC – Living his dream, UC football, the Bengals and maybe MLB one day

Russ Hodges–NY/SF Giants – Shot heard ’round the world. Say no more

Steve Holman–Atl Hawks – Disciple of Johnny Most, unabashed rooter. Yes, loves what he does

Waite Hoyt–Cincy Reds – Superstitious, storyteller galore. Listeners hoped for rain delays 

Pat Hughes–Chi Cubs – Has the pipes, clips his words like a pro, doesn’t miss a thing on the field

Hot-Rod-Hundley–N.O./Utah Jazz – Best ever, ex-NBAer to call games, especially simulcasts 

Ernie Johnson Sr.–Atl Braves – A gentleman, son Ernie Junior, a chip off the old block

Chuck Kaiton–Hartford./Carolina, NHL Paints colorful pictures and enunciates names perfectly 

Harry Kalas–Phl Phils- Slow, dry, sepulchral. Doesn’t overfill the mic. Words are precious 

Michael Kay–Yanks TV – Doesn’t hold back on his talk show or as Yankee TV play-by-player

Paul Keels –Ohio State – Right from the diaphragm -never forgets the score and time left

Les Keiter–NY Giants/Knicks + – Riveting, creative and a mesmerizing delivery

Mike Keith–Tenn Titans- A native. Arrival of the Titans in Nashville was his well deserved gift 

Bill King–A’s, Warriors, Raiders:  Any sport and a renaissance man are unsurpassed

Wayne Larrivee –Chi, G. Bay, NFL + He explodes with energy and enthusiasm every game

Ralph Lawler–LA, SD Clippers+ The Clippers’ years of losing never tempered his anticipation

Cawood Ledford–Kentucky F/B – Everyne in Kentucky knew his name. Just say Cawood 

Ted Leitner–SD Padres – It took time to embrace a Bronxite but he became a fixture 

Josh Lewin–Various-MLB, Ftbl + Inexplicably bounced around. He’s on border of brilliance

Denny Matthews–KC Royals – Started with the team its first year – It’s been 53 seasons

Al McCoy–Phoenix Suns – Longest tenured NBA team announcer. It’s his 50th and he’s wonderful

Jiggs McDonald –NY Isles, NHL+ – Started with the LA Kings’ first year in ’67 and on to fame

Arch McDonald –NY Yanks, Was Senators – Through the war and a little more, big in DC

Van Miller–Buf Bills –  His Scott Norwood call was heartbreaking and picture perfect

Bob Miller–LA Kings – Grew up loving the NHL. Started as a simulcaster before radio/TV split.

Monte Moore–UK, KC/Oak A’s – Out-survived owner Charles Finley, covered 3 WS on NBC

Johnny Most–Boston Celts – Out of Marty Glickman school, became an iconic Boston voice  

Larry Munson–Georgia, Falcons – Throaty, gripping: “The fans are roaring, the stadium rocking”

Bob Murphy–NY Mets  “When he hits them, they go” or We’ll be back with the happy recap”

Andy Musser–Phl 76ers, Phils – Hoops were more his thing, but not bad on baseball

Eric Nadel–Texas Rangers – From Brooklyn with love, a lifelong fan of baseball on radio

Dave Niehaus–Sea Mariners + Got his lessons, sitting near Dick Enberg on Angels

Greg Papa–Raiders, 49ers +  Followed the great Bill King and was liked immediately. It says tons

Gene Peterson–Hou Rockets – Still missed, How sweet it is! 

Lloyd Pettit–Chi B/Hawks + “Here comes number 9, Bobby Hull, a shot and a goal!”

Bob Prince–Pit Pirates – “Bucs down one. All we need is a bloop and a blast”

Merrill Reese–Phl Eagles- At 79, his passion hasn’t waned. Sounded the same 44 years ago

Eric Reid –Mia Heat – New Yorker by way of Providence, has become a South Florida institution.  

Phil Rizzuto–NY Yanks – Yankee fans miss him. Brought a neighborly warmth to the booth.

John Rooney –St. L Cards, W/Sox – Rarely gets attention, yet he is good and dependable

Howie Rose–NY Rangers, Mets –  Mets fan as a kid, loved Bob Murphy and admired Marv Albert

Sam Rosen–NY Rangers – It’s a power play goal! Rosen a NYC kid did the NFL on Fox too”

Spencer Ross–NY-Yanks, Jets, Nets +- Great diction and speed, an original ABA voice in ’67.

By Saam–Phl A’s, Phils – He went back to the days when the A’s and Phils both played in Philly

Gil Santos–NE Pats, Celts – For many years, he did the Pats and the Celtics on TV

Bill Schonely –Port Trail Blazers – Original voice of the Blazers, after doing MLB’s Sea Pilots.

Brad Sham–Cowboys, Tx Rangers – Probably the best known play-by-player in Texas

Gib Shanley–Cle Browns – An institution in Cleveland, Browns plus nighttime TV sports anchor.

Mike Shannon–St. L. Cards – Fifty plus year calling Cardinals baseball

Lon Simmons–SFG, 49ers, A’s – Superb at baseball and football. Worked with Hodges on Giants.

Dewayne Staats –Tampa Rays – Another dulcet toned play-by-player who gets into nobody’s way

John Sterling–NY Yanks, Isles- Fundamentally questionable, still polarizing, 33 years on the job

Chuck Swirsky –Chi Bulls – A steady in the Windy City, Excels on hoops for the Bulls

Joe Tait–Cle Cavs, Indians- Best NBA play-by-player ever and talented on baseball

Chuck Thompson–Bal O’s/Colts – Dulcet toned on baseball, fierce but gentle on football 

Gary Thorne–NY Mets, Balt O’s – Mr. Excitement and a former attorney on top of it.

Kern Tips–SW Conf – No TV years, S/W Conference teams relied on radio only, Tips dominated

Bob Uecker–Milw Brewers-  Uke took broadcasting seriously and he’s still real good at it at 87

Bob Ufer–Michigan football – Bob lived and died Micheegan Saturday after Saturday

John Ward–Tenn football – Must have done well. When he retired, donated million$ to the school

Bill White–NY Yanks – Made history becoming first fulltime Black play-by-player any sport 

Bob Wilson–Boston Bruins – Had the timbre and the call that goes with it.

Jim Zabel –Iowa F/B – 48 year voice, on WHO, station where Ronald Reagan once worked




Troy Aikman--Fox-NFL – Always on his game. Chuckles with Joe, a perfect partner

Marv Albert--NBC-NBA – Stylized, Did both NBA and NHL finals

Kenny Albert–Fox-NFL – A workhorse, always there and dependable

Mel Allen–NBC-MLB – A pioneer, the envy of any budding broadcaster in the 50s

Red Barber–CBS, NBC – A bit odd off-air, gave baseball its radio geography and early TV rhythm 

Charles Barkley –Turner-NBA – Made everyday humor accepting on TV

Chris Berman–ESPN – Went from offbeat studio man to a repetitive and tired clown

Terry Bradshaw–Fox-NFL – He’s about saying little, and finding the next camera to park his face

Tim Brando–CBS-Fox – One of the very best, equally excellent calling big games or in studio

Mike Breen–ESPN – Bang is not yes, yet the younger generation believes it is. Good for him

Tom Brookshier–CBS – He and Summerall enjoyed a drink before and after games. During?

Hubie Brown–Various – Disciplined and professorial. Great teacher of the game

James Brown–CBS Sports – The perfect gentleman. They don’t come better

Frank Broyles–ABC – A Keith Jackson staple in the 70s

Jack Buck –Fox – Different from Joe, The world changed. Jack spoke his mind

Joe Buck –CBS – In an economy of language, he shares material info

Doris Burke–ESPN – Tough not to appreciate where she is, but she’s no Hubie Brown

Mary Carillo--NBC – If tennis were more popular, Mary would dominate the set

Bud Collins–NBC- Bud and Enberg were must watched TV on NBC. Rest in peace

Cris Collinsworth–NBC-NFL – That giddy delivery will never depress viewers

Lee Corso–ESPN – TV has kept the man alive. GameDay without Corso? Tough sledding

Howard-Cosell–ABC – Fiery personality. Impromptu and brilliantly extemporaneous 

Bob Costas–NBC – He’s blessed. Best ever mix of play-by-player, orator and interviewer 

Don Criqui–CBS-NBC – That big voice reminds Americans of so many fall Sundays

Dizzy Dean–CBS- Owned baseball on TV in the 1950s, terrible grammar excused 

Dan Dierdorf--ABC-CBS- Intelligence made him a commentator on MNF with Al Michaels

Don Dunphy--ABC – When boxing was fashionable, Dunphy was a TV personality

Ian Eagle-CBS — A Marv Albert disciple and son Noah right behind both of them

Rich Eisen–NFLN – From Staten Island, Northwestern, sportswriter onto ESPN and NFL Network

Mike Emrick–NBC-NHL – Eloquent, a deep dictionary and an unrestrained passion for the NHL

Dick Enberg–NBC-CBS – A storyteller sprinkled broadcasts with gripping human interest angles

Roy Firestone–ESPN – Miss him. A magical ability to get the best to relax and tell their stories

Joe Garagiola--NBC-MLB –  Joe deferred to Vin on Kirk’s night. Never a better moment

Frank Gifford–ABC-NFL – Arledge gambled, dropped Jackson for Frank. Miscast? Maybe

Curt Gowdy--NBC – Dominated play-by-play in late 60s and 70s. Best at hoops, he said

Greg Gumbel–CBS –Taciturn, reserved and unimposing. Excellent in studio, okay on game call

Bryant Gumbel –NBC- More gutsy than his older brother. Took command in-studio on pre/post

Tom Hammond--NBC – A star who was underused. Think more NFL, NBA and track

Kevin Harlan–CBS-Turner – Has the timbre and emotional investment into every game 

Ted Husing--CBS Radio Network – A pioneer, football was his game. Touched Brickhouse, plus

Keith Jackson--ABC – Best college footballer. Sonorous, never shrill. Saturdays meant Keith

Ernie  Johnson Jr–Turner – Simple! Barkley, Shaq and Kenny trio wouldn’t work without him

Charlie Jones–NBC -Husky and syrupy, NFL Sundays meant Jones was calling a game somewhere

Dan Kelly--CBS- I’m in Kelly camp, followed by Tim Ryan and Doc Emrick among NHL top three

Suzy Kolber–ESPN – The Philly lady works tirelessly and it’s why she’s risen through the ranks 

Tony Kubek–NBC-MLB – No analytics. Give us the fundamentals and nothing too complicated

Steve Levy–ESPN – Three in a booth requires mental timekeeping. Levy makes it look easy

Verne Lundquist–CBS-Turner – Who’ll ever forget those belly laughs? An old-school listen

John Madden–CBS+ – When he surfaced in the late ’70s, the NFL on TV took a funny turn

Paul Maguire–NBC-ESPN – Her liked working with Marv most. A wisecrack turned into banter

Clem McCarthy--NBC Radio Network. Did ’38 Schmeling-Louis, 75% of U.S. listened, No TV yet 

Tim McCarver–Various – Cocky and never wrong. Still, survived NBC, ABC, CBS an Fox

Sean McDonough–Various – Silver-tongued with the command of a drill sergeant – Superb

Jim McKay–ABC – “They’re all gone” and “The thrill of victory….,” Jim in perpetuity

Graham McNamee–NBC Radio-Pioneer, no one to follow, Still, MLB, Rose Bowls and the ring

Barry Melrose–ESPN-NHL – A funny man with a chuckling partner. NHL needs him on ESPN

Curt Menefee -Fox – Confident, keeps the room in check, despite egos, like Bradshaw, Long

Don Meredith--ABC- “Turn out the lights the party is over.” Those were fun Mondays

Al Michaels–ABC-NBC – Friend Curt Smith might say, “the cynosure of NFLcasts.” 36 years plus

Jon Miller–ESPN – Why the Bristolites didn’t renew him is as mysterious as Allen, Prince, plus

Joe Morgan–ESPN – Many were critical of him. If I’m Fox, I’d trade dull Smoltz for Joe anytime

Brent Musburger–CBS-ESPN – Reared in rugged Montana, has edge and won’t go down easily

Jim Nantz--CBS – His sturdy voice is inflected with a token touch of firmness, no matter the event

Lindsey Nelson–CBS-NBC -Known for gaudy jackets, college football, NFL and 17 years with Mets

Brad Nessler–CBS-ESPN Soft spoken, a complete pro, right on it

Pat O’Brien–CBS – He dressed the part on the sidelines. Showtime’s Magic, Riley and Hollywood

Merlin Olsen –NBC – There are those who say that Enberg and Olsen were the NFL’s best TV duo

Shaquille O’Neal –Turner -A bear of a man with a heart equally as big

Billy Packer–CBS -Contrarian, enjoyed engaging in polemics, and for decades a Final Four fixture 

Dave Pasch–ESPN – If he can handle Walton’s need for attention, he gets an A for the rest

Van Patrick–Mutual – Wonderful delivery, remembered for his years with Tigers, Lions and ND

Mike Patrick–ESPN – Immediately identifiable, rhythmic, in command, should still be on-air   

Bill Raftery--CBS-Fox -From ESPN to Fox and #1 on CBS, UCLA open in a 2-3 zone

Ahmad-Rashad--NBC – His relationship with Jordan’s camp made the GOAT easier to access 

Tony Romo–CBS – Stormed onto scene. Is he remembered more for his analysis or $17M per?

Tim Ryan–CBS-NBC – Native Canadian can do anything well, from the NHL to tennis and the NFL

Craig Sager–Turner –  His interviews and flashy jackets, part of the panoply. See Pop

Lisa Salters–ESPN – Ear and eye for news, played sports at Penn State, comes and goes quietly

Chris Schenkel –CBS-ABC – His mix: An emollient voice, adequate prep and an average delivery

Jon Sciambi--ESPN – Simply different in an unvarying world of baseball broadcasters

Ray Scott--CBS – Got $800 to do Super Bowls in the late 60s. Never used an agent. Should have

Dan Shulman--ESPN – Baseball, yes. Hoops became his thing too. Why not? He’s Canadian.

Phil Simms–CBS – He wasn’t funny and never flew off the handle. But I guess it wasn’t enough 

Jim Simpson–NBC-ESPN – The World is a storehouse of wonderful things – always – upbeat

Kenny Smith–Turner – Irreverent Chuck and unpredictable Shaq needy straight man Kenny

Bill Stern–NBC Radio Network- The truth didn’t matter as long as it was entertaining 

Dick Stockton–CBS-Fox – No shtick, no patented phrases, just straight forward play-by-play

Hannah Storm--ESPN, NBC – Can’t be better prepared. Pregnant twice while covering Jordan 

Hank-Stram–CBS – One of the better analysts on both TV and radio’s Monday Night Football

Pat Summerall–CBS-Fox – In retrospect, he made it big, despite a vapid and empty presentation

Michelle Tafoya–NBC: She: “The distinction between men and women in media is old and tired” 

Sam Taub–NBC Radio – Gave the fight game its language on radio when boxing was huge

Mike Tirico— NBC Sports – An iota or two above average, yet dependable at most he does

Bob Trumpy–NBC – Sustained his hoarse voice for years; No mistake who was behind the mic

Matt Vasgersian--ESPN – Just as he was warming up at ESPN, he was inexplicably gone

Lesley Visser–CBS – A spirited pioneer who broke down walls peacefully and others followed

Dick Vitale–ESPN – Will always be remembered for his generosity and popularizing the game

Jack Whitaker–CBS-ABC- Poetic and extemporaneous, saw events from a different perspective

Bob Wischusen –ESPN – In this homogenous announcing world, he puts his heart into the mic

Harry Wismer–Dumont – First NFL broadcaster, Did early title games on network TV



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
2 years ago

Is anybody arguing yet? What great lists.