February 20, 2006
RIP, Curt Gowdy

Another great baseball broadcaster has called his last game.

Curt Gowdy, whose distinctive baritone was the TV voice of the Red Sox for 15 years, died at his Florida home after a long battle with leukemia. He was 86.

Gowdy announced Red Sox games from 1951-1966 before leaving to become a national sports broadcaster for NBC.

According to the Baseball Hall of Fame website, Gowdy made his broadcasting debut in 1944 atop an orange crate in Cheyenne, Wyoming, doing the play-by-play of a six-man football game between Pine Bluff and St. Mary's before 15 fans in sub-zero weather.

His enthusiasm and distinctive style during his subsequent broadcasts of minor league baseball and major league recreations over KOMA in Oklahoma City earned him an opportunity with the New York Yankees and Mel Allen in 1949, the site says.

Two years later, Gowdy became head man on the Boston Red Sox broadcast team. He left the Red Sox in 1966 for a 10-year stint as Game of the Week announcer for NBC.


In 1984, Gowdy won the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually by the Baseball Hall of Fame to a broadcaster for major contributions to baseball. Each award recipient is recognized in the "Scribes & Mikemen" exhibit in the library of the Hall.

Gowdy’s distinctive style made him popular across Red Sox Nation and around the country. He once recalled: "I tried to pretend that I was sitting in the stands with a buddy watching the game -- poking him in the ribs when something exciting happened. I never took myself too seriously. An announcer is only as good as yesterday's performance."

I remember Gowdy, along with Joe Garagiola, for narrating all the World Series and All Star Game highlight films I saw multiple times in baseball camp as a kid. He had a great voice and a style that was both serious of the subject matter but not full of himself. We could use more of that from the booths these days. Rest in peace, Curt Gowdy. Thanks to David Pinto for the heads-up.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 20, 2006 to Baseball | TrackBack

You know, I never knew he'd worked for the Red Sox. I knew him solely from the Game of the Week; if I'd thought about it I'm sure I'd have realized he'd honed his skills somewhere.

Posted by: Linkmeister on February 20, 2006 1:10 PM