In Remembrance of Joe Garagiola

Posted on March 29, 2016 by Martin Oaks under Memorial
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Baseball Today

When the Final Four disappears into our rear-view mirror, the attention of the sports world will once again focus on Opening Day in Major League Baseball.

While MLB can no longer claim to be the “national pastime” – the NFL firmly owns that title – the game is going through a golden era in attendance. In 2015, more than 112 million tickets were sold at Major and Minor League parks in the USA.

With all the player movement in the off-season, the pennant races in both leagues promise to be of great interest. There is, however, one small cloud over the game today: the recent passing of Hall of Famer Joe Garagiola.

Joe Garagiola

Joe Garagiola’s Story

Joe’s story is familiar to baseball fans: he grew up in the Italian section of St. Louis (the hill); his neighbor and best friend was #YogiBerra (the future star catcher for the New York Yankees, also a Hall of Famer); he had a modest Major League career which he parlayed into a very successful career in the media.

Notable stops for Joe included being the play-by-play voice for NBC Major League Baseball games, two stints as a co-host of The Today Show, numerous quiz show hosting duties and a number of other announcing jobs for teams like the Yankees and Diamondbacks.

Joe’s trademark was his fully developed sense of humor; few realized how hard he prepared for his game call, even fewer recognized how shrewdly he managed his career. His book, “Baseball Is a Funny Game,” is timeless humor classic.

Of all the stories Joe told, this is my favorite: Joe had a fan who had one problem with his announcing style.  She wrote him about it, saying, “You drop your G’s.  You don’t say playing, you say playin’. You don’t say throwing, you say throwin’. You don’t say pitching, you say pitchin’.”  Joe’s response: “If I said playing, throwing and pitching, I wouldn’t be workin’.”

RIP Joe Garagiola.

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