I started listening to baseball broadcasts in the early 1940s, when my hometown Pittsburgh Pirates were almost always in last place. Did those dismal standings deter the play-by-play announcers from pumping us fans up, regardless? No. The announcers were named Al "Rosey" Rosewell and Bob Prince. "Rosey" did the games solo until Prince came aboard in the late 1940s. "Rosey" was one of the mosy likeable characters ever on radio, especially "baseball radio". Whenever a Pirate hit a home run, Rosey's excitable comment was, "Get upstairs and raise the window, Aunt Minnie. Here she comes! A round-tripper for...." whomever the batter was. In those days, Ralph Kiner, who I got to meet when I was age 12 (in 1949), was the Pirates' home-run "king" in those days, having hit 54 "round trippers" one year.
Our TWINS announcers, especially on television, are, in my opinion, among the classiest in any market. Hall-of-Famer Bert Blyleven (also a former Pittsburgh Pirate, so there!) is witty, knowledgeable and an expert (duh) about pitching, at which he excelled for so many years. Dick Bremer is a class-act, too, in every way. But last night, even as the Twins weren't displaying their best efforts, losing 10-2 to the Bosox, it was a joy to hear Tom Kelly subbing again for Bert. T.K., of course, lead us to two great World Series victories, and hearing his insight about every facet of everything going on during each at-bat is, in my opinion, tantamount to being in the dugout and listening to his wisdom imparted to the players about what, how and why certain things are happening on the field. Talk about a university course into baseball's insight. We get a free and INTERESTING "course" every time T.K. is in the booth with "Richard", as T.K. respectfully refers to Mr. Bremer.
I got to know the late Detroit Tigers play-by-play legend, Ernie Harwell, during my almost seven years on television and radio in Motown. Ernie visited my mother in the hospital once, and gave her an autographed picture of himself. He buoyed her spirits immensely, and she lived five additional years after Ernie's visit. She was a rabid baseball fan, so I guess it rubbed off on yours truly.
Ernie Harwell, Harry Carey, Mel Allen, Vin Scully, Dizzy Dean and every one of baseball's "giants" in the play-by-play realm certainly have other "giants" here who are in their rarified league. Congrats to the Twins and FSN for giving us fans television play-by-play communicators who truly are among the best in the business: past, present or future.
(Whenever possible, I hope you'll take time to view my Star Tribune webcasts, entitled A SENIOR MOMENT, at www.startribune.com/video. The subject changes every Monday. So does my shirt.)