Who is your favorite Orioles announcer of all time?
The announcement of Jon Miller as the 2010 Ford C. Frick winner for outstanding contributions to baseball broadcasting got me thinking.
Who is my favorite Orioles’ announcer of all time?
This is a tough one for me. First, I have to exclude the guys who were TV-only. Many did great jobs, but it just isn’t the same as radio. That’s a special deal, in my opinion.
Ever since I can remember, my father listened to games on the radio. He’d be grilling in the backyard or fixing something in the basement, and the O’s game would always accompany him.
That became ingrained in me. Nowadays, I must admit, I rarely listen to the Orioles’ radio broadcasts. I am at most home games and a chunk on the road. When I am away from the team, I am usually at my house, and the game is on TV.
But that’s not to say I don’t listen to baseball on the radio anymore. I have a 50-minute ride home from the stadium after every game at Camden Yards, so I invariably listen to a West Coast game or two on my satellite radio.
It’s fantastic to hear other teams’ announcers, especially when I get the treat of Vin Scully with the Los Angeles Dodgers and, of course, Miller with the San Francisco Giants.
Because Baltimore has been blessed with such amazing baseball announcers over the years, the fan base might be a bit spoiled. I have heard a contingent of fans complain about Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, from time to time.
As I said above, I don’t get the opportunity to listen that much to Joe and Fred because of my job. And since I consider both men my friends, I am not fully objective. But I listen to a lot of other teams’ guys, and I really think the tandem here in Baltimore is excellent. I challenge you to listen to New York Yankees radio broadcasts, for instance, and not come away with an appreciation for Joe and Fred. Just my opinion.
Anyway, back to my original thought. Who is my favorite? I am stuck right in the middle of a generational argument. (Sort of like: Cal or Brooks?) To me, the voice of Orioles baseball -- and, really, the voice of summer -- is Chuck Thompson. He taught me the game when I was eager to learn it. And so I’ll forever think of Chuck when I think of summer barbecues and transistor radios hidden under pillows. (Bill O’Donnell should be mentioned here, too, but my memory of him is shaky since he died when I was 12.)
Then there’s Jon Miller. He was the perfect baseball companion for the teen and 20-something, especially when the Orioles stunk. He could make a terrible Orioles game fun – and that’s not easy to do. (Joe Angel is a master of doing that now.)
So, really, I am torn by my own question. It’s like choosing between your kindly grandfather and your crazy uncle. Both were tremendous in their own ways.
I guess I will say my favorite was Thompson, because that’s when I was in awe of baseball. And baseball on the radio was something more than just entertainment.
But it’s close.
I want to know where you stand. Don’t tell me who you think was the best Orioles announcer. I want to know your favorite. And, yes, there is a difference.
You can use TV announcers, too. But I won’t.
Daily Think Special: Who is your all-time favorite Orioles announcer?