by Rob Joyce
The conclusion of the NHL regular season over the weekend also marked the end of a legendary career. Longtime play-by-play announcer Bob Miller called his final game with the Los Angeles Kings after 44 years with the team. With Miller and Vin Scully both retiring within six months of each other, that’s 111 seasons of announcing in the Los Angeles area that have turned off the microphone.
A Hall of Famer, Miller has been the television voice of the Kings since their second season, in 1973, among the longest-tenured broadcasters in sports.
Among active announcers, here are the ones in the MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL who have been with one team the longest:
Scully was renowned as the “voice of the Dodgers”, with a career that lasted nearly seven full decades. Well meet another Dodgers’ announcer that’s a landmark within the organization. Jaime Jarrin has been the Spanish broadcaster for LA since 1959 – the team’s first season out west – remarkable considering when he arrived to the United States four years earlier he hadn’t seen a baseball game. He received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Now 81 years old, his contract runs through the end of next season.
The Royals’ inaugural season came in 1969 and they’ve only had one voice in that span. The 74-year-old started out as the number two announcer alongside Buddy Blattner, before being promoted to the top spot in 1976. The 2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner, Matthews will celebrate his 50th season in the booth next year in Kansas City.
After spending six years in the majors as a catcher, lastly in 1967, Uecker joined the Brewers’ broadcast team in 1971 and has been a fixture ever since. Of course Uecker is known nationally for his humor and his role as Harry Doyle in “Major League”, but the 83-year-old is as technically sound as they come. He’s been named the Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year five times and was given the Ford C. Frick Award in 2003.
Other notable long-tenured baseball broadcasters include Marty Brennaman with the Reds (1974) and Mike Shannon with the Cardinals (1972).
The radio pre- and post-game host for the Eagles, Reese moved up to the role of play-by-play in 1977, a position he has filled ever since. Reese is a homegrown talent, having grown up in Philadelphia, graduating from Temple University and starting his career at stations around Pennsylvania.
Sham was originally hired by the Cowboys in 1976 to be the color commentator for another well-known broadcaster, Verne Lundquist. Uncle Verne left for CBS in 1984, and Sham was shuffled over into the play-by-play role. Outside of a three-year span in the 1990s it’s been Sham’s job ever since. An 11-time Texas Sportscaster of the Year, Sham has also called games for the Texas Rangers, Texas Longhorns and the Cotton Bowl, among other national work.
Not only is McCoy the longest-active tenured announcer in the league, as of this season he is now the longest-tenured in NBA history, surpassing the legendary Chick Hearn. The Suns’ broadcaster since 1972, McCoy isn’t just talented, he’s an iron-man. In 45 years of broadcasting for Phoenix, he’s missed exactly one game because of illness. He received the Curt Gowdy Media Award in 2007 and is in the Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
A midwestern native, Blaha has been the Pistons’ radio and television voice since 1976, mostly on the TV side unless Detroit is on nationally. A legend in the Detroit area, the 71-year-old Blaha has also been the longtime voice of Michigan State football, and there are no signs that he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
Like Bob Miller, Jeanneret became the voice of the Sabres in their second year in 1971. The longest-tenured broadcaster in NHL history, the 74-year-old has been both the radio and TV voice of Buffalo. His work-load has gradually decreased the last few seasons, but he’s still doing a majority of the games. In 2014 he missed part of the season after being diagnosed with throat cancer, but he beat it and returned to the booth later that year.
Long known for his “Lange-isms” (“Scratch my back with a hacksaw!”) Lange was first hired by the Penguins in 1974, left in 1975, came back in ’76 and has been a Pittsburgh legend ever since. After a long tenure on the TV side, Lange moved to radio in 2006. The 69-year-old received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2001.