Tim McCarver passed at age 81; a giant among MLB analysts; Mike Emrick record for NHL, did all networks

He’ll be remembered for his endurance and toughness, more so for his willingness and distinction. Those bruising, catchers and their strengths: Earl Battey Smokey Burgess, Johnny Roseboro, Ray Fosse, Joe Torre and even Norm Sherry. Like strong carry-backs they’re unafraid to take hard hits.

Tim McCarver was a student of the hard-hit, not afraid to rise and withstand a blow to the throat. With a mic, Garagiola, Ray Fosse, Alan Ashby, Bob Brenly, Buck Martinez and how do we miss the standup comedian, Bob Uecker, entertainer/catcher

McCarver is in the class of the high esteemed, good vocabulary, diction and self-assuredness. He blends entertainment with a constant echo. He was in the booth for 24 straight World Series, as a color commentator; feisty and gritty. Jack Buck and Tim McCarver, behaved somewhat boisterously. When I read and heard it, this surprised me.

Lots of partners for Tim. Network wise, he launched at NBC, followed by stints with ABC, where his fist partner was Don Drysdale, and continued with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer from 1985 to 1989 and later Jack Buck, Sean McDonough from 1992 to 1993. From 2001 until 2013, he was Joe Buck. McCarver hung up the national cleats on 2013.

Hang around long enough anywhere and you’ll make a foolish or two comments. From Wikipedia: “In 2010, McCarver compared the New York Yankees’ treatment of former manager Joe Torre to the treatment meted out by Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia to generals who fell out of favor with their leaders. After receiving negative comments about his position on the topic, McCarver apologized.”

When he hit the TV networks from the Phillies and Mets, he planned a fresh sound, one, appreciated by fans coast-to-coast. McCarver wasn’t the first media to check out the scholastics of the game. There were folks of his genre like Jim Palmer, Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek. After a while, listeners detected a pattern, Tim sounded tutorial and didactic.

A young teen told me that when the ex-catcher excoriated a high-schooler for leaning against his car in the stadium parking lot.

The list of the those Fall Classics he called were in 1985, 1987, 1989-1993, 1995, 1996, 1998 and 2000-13.

Al Michaels and McCarver presided over ABC on the lead into the Earthquake Game in old Candlestick Park. When the earth tremored, Northern California vibrated, it caused 67 deaths. McCarver and Al Michaels partnered for coverage of the famed earthquake World Series, a tragic night, tough for the eyes. Gary Thorne was also on the broadcast. Jim was visible too.

Tim separated himself from the pack of the crowd, building the depth of his baseball knowledge, his ability to collect his thoughts and talk to his audience, never having to use a panicked throat. After a while, it sounded as though, McCarver was listening to the same thing all over again.

Tim did in baseball on NBC, CBS, CBS and for course, Fox.

I’ve not kept complete track. Off the top of my head (these guys worked 3):

Curt Gowdy:  CBS, ABC, NBC

Jack Buck:  CBS, NBC, ABC

Al Michaels: ABC, NBC, CBS

Dick Stockton: TBS, CBS, NBC,

Bob Costas: NBC, CBS, TBS

Tim Ryan: NBC, CBS, ESPN


Mike “Doc” Emrick at the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs
(Courtesy of NBC Sports Group) Mike Emrick

Tim was always confident, if not cocky. For all his years (1981-24), professionally or locally. He called games for the Phillies (1980-82), Mets (1983-98), Yankees (1999), Giants (2002), and Cardinals (2014-21) while also working national broadcasts for CBS (1990-93) and Fox (1996-2013). All told, McCarver covered 20 All-Star Games and 24 World Series, a record at the time of his retirement in April 2022.

As for Mike Emrick – get this. For his NHL distinguished broadcast career, Mike wandered through ESPN, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. Enrick knows his stuff about all. Other than hockey, he did a little CBS collegiate basketball and the NFL. The man can pellet the booth with a rich scattering of info.


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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