It’s a Thursday afternoon and I’m doing what I can to be ready for tomorrow morning’s news. The Cardinals are playing so the game is on the radio here in the newsroom. That’s normal for me.
Baseball on the radio has been part of my summer since age 7 when I wound up in possession of a little Motorola transistor radio. Then, it was Harry Caray and Jack Buck detailing the efforts of Gibson, Brock, Maris, Cepeda and Shannon. The Dugout Interview began at 7:45 for an 8:00 first pitch--the usual starting time in those days. Bedtime was before the game ended, so that radio wound up hidden under the pillow from April through September.
My uncle is a Cub fan and visits there meant listening to Vince Lloyd and Lou Boudreau and sparring over the virtues of the Cardinals and Cubs. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Now it’s Mike Shannon and John Rooney calling the Cardinals. Since I started listening to Cardinal baseball, we’ve been blessed with a several great broadcasters. Rooney is the consummate pro. Mike Shannon does what he does best—he’s Mike Shannon. And he’s become a solid play by play man too. Jack Buck is one of the best ever to sit down behind a microphone in a ballpark. I enjoyed the work of the late Bob Starr. He’s still the best football play by play man I’ve heard. Joe Buck’s radio work was top notch too. I enjoyed the work of Joel Meyers and Wayne Hagin too. It took me a while to get used to Hagin doing Cardinal games after all those years of hearing him calling the Rockies on KOA in Denver.
My listening isn’t confined to the Cardinals. I enjoy Pat Hughes work on the Cub broadcasts. Hughes and Ron Santo were another classic pairing. Keith Moreland is a solid replacement but it just isn’t quite the same without Santo wearing his heart on his sleeve and speaking his mind. Trips to Colorado mean listening in on the Royals and/or the Colorado Rockies. When the Detroit Tigers were on WJR and Ernie Harwell--another of the best ever-- was calling the games, that was required listening while driving after dark if the Cardinals weren't playing.
When there isn’t much on TV-- as usual, I’ll turn on the radio and twist the dial just to see what I can pick up.