Author Topic: RIP Joe Garagiola  (Read 856 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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RIP Joe Garagiola
« on: March 23, 2016, 04:32:01 PM »

Joe Garagiola, who turned a modest major league catching career into a 57-year run as a popular broadcaster in the sports world and beyond, died Wednesday. He was 90.

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced his death before their exhibition game against San Francisco, and there were murmurs of shock and sadness at the ballpark. Garagiola had been in ill health in recent years.

Growing up in the Hill neighborhood of St. Louis not far from future Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, Garagiola went on to hit .257 during nine years in the majors. His highlight came early, getting a four-hit game in the 1946 World Series and helping the hometown Cardinals win the championship as a 20-year-old rookie.

"Not only was I not the best catcher in the major leagues, I wasn't even the best catcher on my street," Garagiola once remarked.

But it was after he stopped playing that his fortunes took off. He thrived as a glib baseball broadcaster and fixture on the "Today" show, leading to a nearly 30-year association with NBC.

Garagiola, who was awarded the Ford Frick Award -- presented annually to a broadcaster for "major contributions to baseball" -- by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, was the play-by-play voice of baseball for NBC for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1961. He worked alongside Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek and Bob Costas on the network's "Game of the Week."

After leaving NBC in 1988, Garagiola became the commentator for the California Angels and Diamondbacks until retiring from broadcasting in 2013.

"He had a genuine impact on the craft. He was among the first to bring a humorous, story-telling style to the booth," Costas said.

Garagiola's son, Joe Jr., is a former general manager of the Diamondbacks and a current executive with Major League Baseball.

and this recollection from FoG Robert over on FaceBook

Joe Garagiola and I share two things - growing up in St Louis and a love of baseball (even if he has to be forgiven for some of the teams he chose!). But my favorite memory was hearing Joe and Dandy Don Meredith broadcasting a Yankees-Rangers sleeper of a game in Texas. They were desperate for something to happen to talk about. Finally, Don started to riff on the Italians who have played over the years for the Yankees - because at this time the Yankees had a new young Italian kid in the outfield who was a big hit with the fans. Meredith is blissfully reciting the roster and finally gets to Yogi Berra - Then he remembers that Yogi and Joe grew up together in St. Louis. Now, I grew up in St Louis some years after Joe but even I knew that you never, never, ever called St Augustine's Hill - where the Italian community lived - anything other than St Augustine's Hill - and yet I am hearing those words "Dago Hill" coming out of Don Meredith's mouth as he refers to the neighborhood shared by Yogi, Joe, and many others. I swear I could hear ice crystals forming in the air of the broadcast booth and could see in my mind as Don Meredith realized what he had done and tried to climb up into the corner where the the walls met the ceiling to get as far away from Garagiola as he could without actually fleeing the booth. And finally in that very quiet soft voice of George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G Robinson's toughest gangster roles, you finally hear Joe Garagiola, softly and quietly say, but with great intensity, "That's St Augustine's Hill to you." It was some time before the broadcast team returned to the normal stride of live game coverage - but I didn't care because I was rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.
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Offline MetalDog

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Re: RIP Joe Garagiola
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2016, 05:10:49 AM »
RIP Joe.
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