Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Curt Gowdy

There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now- legendary voices and characters. Today, I want to pay tribute to Curt Gowdy.

Curt Gowdy made his broadcasting debut in 1943 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, calling a 'six-man' high school football game from atop a wooden grocery crate in subzero weather with 15 people present. He later worked at the radio station and newspaper there. In 1946, he accepted an offer from KOMA radio in Oklahoma City to broadcast Oklahoma college football and Oklahoma State college basketball games.

Gowdy's distinctive play-by-play style earned him a national audition and then an opportunity with the New York Yankees in 1949, working with (and learning from) the legendary Mel Allen for two seasons.

Gowdy began his Major League Baseball broadcasting career working as the No. 2 announcer to Mel Allen for New York Yankees games on radio and television in 1949–50. In 1951, he became the voice of the Boston Red Sox for 15 seasons. It was there that he became America's premier sportscaster. He spent most of his career at NBC, but also broadcast for ABC and CBS Radio. The winner of 13 Emmy Awards, Gowdy was the first sportscaster to win a Peabody Award, a prestigious honor in broadcasting. He broadcast 16 World Series, nine Super Bowls, eight Olympics, 12 Rose Bowls and 24 NCAA Final Fours. He hosted ''The American Sportsman" on ABC for two decades.

Gowdy was present for some of American sports' storied moments, including Ted Williams' home run in his final at-bat in 1960, Super Bowl I and Hank Aaron's 715th home run in 1974.

Curt Gowdy died on February 20, 2006 at the age of aged 86.

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