Longtime Baseball Announcer Joe Garagiola Retiring From D'Backs Role
D’Backs announcer Joe Garagiola “finally decided it was time to put down his microphone for good” after 58 years of broadcasting, according to Bob McManaman of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. Garagiola yesterday formally announced his retirement and tried to “thank everyone for making him feel like part of a family during his 15 seasons as a color commentator on select team telecasts.” He is “best remembered for his nearly 30-year association with NBC,” and his broadcasting career earned him the Ford C. Frick Award in '91 and enshrinement in the Baseball HOF. Garagiola’s “charisma and charm led him to other ventures, from co-hosting the ‘Today’ show, guest-hosting ‘The Tonight Show,’ and hosting and appearing on numerous game shows.” In recent years, he was “very active in efforts to educate players about the dangers of using spit tobacco.” Garagiola has undergone procedures “to remove a tumor behind his left eye, fix an ailing back and to have a pacemaker installed, but he insisted health was not a factor in deciding to finally hang up his microphone.” The D’Backs "plan to honor" Garagiola during their April 14 home game against the Dodgers (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/21). USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes Garagiola began calling Cardinals games with Jack Buck and Harry Caray in ‘55 and switched to the Yankees in ‘65 with Red Barber “before joining NBC’s national coverage” in ’74. He stayed in that role through ’88, working with announcers such as Curt Gowdy and Vin Scully (USA TODAY, 2/21). An ARIZONA REPUBLIC editorial states, “Few ballplayers ever transitioned more flawlessly into the broadcast booth than did Garagiola. It helps when you are suffused with a love of the game and blessed with a storyteller’s gift for gab” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/21).