Sad news reached the baseball world Wednesday as Joe Garagiola passed away.
He was 90 years old.
In a statement released by his family, the Hall of Fame broadcaster Garagiola was described as an amazing man who was beloved by his family as well as generations of baseball fans.
“Joe loved the game and passed that love onto family, his friends, his teammates, his listeners and everyone he came across as a player and broadcaster. His impact on the game, both on and off the field, will forever be felt.”
Garagiola played nine seasons in the Major Leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and New York Giants. Where he really rose to prominence, however, was in the broadcast booth.
Following his playing career, Garagiola spent nearly 30 years with NBC, six of which were with Vin Scully as the top broadcast team that called the “Game of the Week” as well as All-Star Games and World Series. He also spent time on the “Today Show” and was also a guest host on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.
D-backs fans got to know Garagiola early in the franchise’s history as he was a broadcaster for the team from its inaugural season until 2013.
In 2009 the broadcast wing and TV booth at Chase Field was named after Garagiola, and in 2012 a field was dedicated in his name in Flagstaff.
“Joe was one-of-a-kind and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know him and his family,” said D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick. “His sense of humor certainly stood out to all of us, but perhaps more importantly, the mark he left in the community around him will carry on his legacy for generations to come.”
Added D-backs president Derrick Hall:
“Joe was so special to everyone at the D-backs and had an aura about him that you could feel the moment you met him. Those of us who were lucky enough to know him personally were profoundly aware that the lovable personality that fans saw on TV was only surpassed by who he was in person and the way he treated everyone around him.”
Garagiola is survived by his wife Audrie, eight grandchildren and children Steve, Gina and Joe Jr., who was the Diamondbacks’ general manager from 1997 to 2005.