Broadcasting legend Joe Garagiola hangs up his microphone
Feb 20, 2013, 9:23 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm
There’s no doubt the Arizona Diamondbacks have a different look than they did the last time the took the field in October of 2012.
Their 40-man roster this spring features 14 players that are new to the organization.
Of course, the changes aren’t limited to those on the field. Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly will be in the D-backs’ television booth this season, replacing Daron Sutton and Mark Grace. More change in the broadcast team came Wednesday afternoon when Hall of Famer Joe Garagiola, who spent 15 years as an analyst on D-backs broadcasts, officially announced his retirement.
“We’re trying to figure out why he would retire, because he’s still as good today as he was 57 years ago. But we figured it out and it’s because there’s an opening at The Vatican,” D-backs CEO Derrick Hall joked at a Wednesday press conference at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. “And there’s only one guy that could be Pope, and that’s (Joe) because you’re already a saint.”
Garagiola’s storied broadcasting career began in 1955 after a nine-year Major League career wrapped up the previous season. He called St. Louis Cardinals games for seven seasons, New York Yankees games for three seasons and had a long stint at NBC, where he announced several World Series.
“I don’t deserve a lot of things that have happened to me, but I remember Jack Benny saying he had arthritis — he didn’t deserve that either,” Garagiola joked. “You guys were great, you’ve made me part of your family.”
Garagiola, who turned 87 earlier this month, quelled any talk that he’s retiring because of health reasons.
“The only thing I want you all to know is, my health is okay — it’s good,” he said.
Despite his announcement, Garagiola said he’d pop into the broadcast booth from time to time.
“Just give me a call, and if I’m here, I’m gonna get there even if I’m not in the booth all the time if I see something and I don’t quite understand it, I’ll make it up and it’ll sound like I understand it,” he said. “Any time. Any time.”
Garagiola’s broadcasting reach went far beyond baseball. He appeared on NBC’s The Today Show from 1967 to 1973 and served as a guest-host on the The Tonight Show for several years.