Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It was sad to hear yesterday that one of the great voices of my youth had passed away. Curt Gowdy is being remembered as the first superstar of television sports after he succumbed to leukemia at his Palm Beach winter home. He was 86.

If you think Al Michaels or Bob Costas seem to be on your television screen a lot, Curt Gowdy did all the big events for nearly five decades: Major League Baseball, the early Super Bowls, NCAA Final Fours. If it was on television, you probably heard Gowdy's voice somewhere.

He worked as play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox radio broadcasts for 14 years, leaving to join former major leaguer Tony Kubek in the booth for NBC Television's Saturday afternoon "Game of the Week" for a decade. Also during much of that time, the avid outdoorsman and Wyoming native hosted ABC's "The American Sportsman" where he was often seen hunting or fishing with a variety of celebrities.

Those were the days before cable television and announcers that seek to bring the attention to themselves. Curt Gowdy enjoyed telling a story, but not get in the way of the action. I always enjoyed his work watching the Saturday afternoon baseball game, helping me understand what was going on and learning more about the players whom I enjoyed watching.

Among his career highlights:

--- Ted Williams' final home run

--- Super Bowls (including the first)

--- Rose Bowl games (that's when it was strictly between the Big Ten and the Pacific Coast Conference champions, before BCS)

--- Olympic Games (including the 1976 Montreal games)

--- World Series (of course, back then, if you worked the Yankees or Red Sox, that was almost a given)

--- MLB All Star Games

College basketball analyst and former coach Dick Vitale has a wonderful rememberence piece for his old friend on ESPN's Web site.

RIP, old friend.


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