The Kanawha Valley and all of southern West Virginia lost a piece of its past this week with the retirement of longtime Cincinnati Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman.
This past Thursday, Brennaman broadcast his final game for the Cincnnati Reds, a position he has had since 1974.
For many fans in this area, Brennaman is the last tie to the glory years of the Big Red Machine. He is a reminder of names such as Rose, Bench, Morgan, Perez and Sparky. He was a reminder of The Main Spark pregame show, of the 1975 and 1976 World Series champions and his popular former radio partner Joe Nuxhall.
Marty is also a reminder of a time when baseball on the radio seemed so important. Baseball has always been a radio game. The NFL was a TV game. Times are different now.
Now, every game is on television and you can watch it on your computer or your phone. No longer do you sit around the neighborhood pool, or stroll up and down the beach, listening to baseball on the radio. Baseball broadcasters are no longer necessary to paint the picture of the sights and sounds of the ballpark for the fans.
Each year, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York inducts a broadcaster into the media wing of the Hall of Fame. They started with New York broadcasters Mel Allen and Red Barber. There are now 43 inductees. Among them are network announcers such as Bob Costas, Joe Garagiola, Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek.
There are also team announcers such as Jack Buck (Cardinals), Ernie Harwell (Tigers), Bob Prince (Pirates) and Vin Scully (Dodgers).
Brennaman’s retirement continues the ending of an era of colorful, descriptive baseball broadcasters who impacted fans in our state. Here are some others.
Al Michaels: The iconic Michaels was the “Voice of the Reds” before Brennaman.
Jon Miller: Many remember Miller with Joe Morgan on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Oriole fans in the eastern panhandle will remember him as an Orioles broadcaster from 1983-96. He is also in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Joe Nuxhall: It is impossible to think of Brennaman without thinking of his first Reds radio partner. Reds fans and listeners in our state loved Nuxhall, who was a Reds broadcaster from 1967 to 2004.
Bob Prince: Our state is divided. Baseball fans in Wheeling and Morgantown love the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bob Prince is to the Pirates what Brennaman has been to the Reds. He also is a Hall of Famer.
Herb Score: Cleveland Indians fans in our state grew up listening to former Tribe pitcher Score, an Indians broadcaster from 1964 to 1997.
Chuck Thompson: A longtime broadcaster with the Baltimore Orioles, Thompson is also a Hall of Famer. He also had great popularity announcing Baltimore Colts NFL games on CBS television in the 1960s.
Reds fans will miss Marty Brennaman on the radio. However, it is time. Marty is 77 and deserves to enjoy retirement.
Also, I get the impression that Marty is not a fan of how baseball has changed and what the game has become. The game now is different than the one Marty loved when he started in 1974.