Baseball Loses a Familiar Face, and Voice

Player and broadcaster Tim McCarver dies at 81
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 16, 2023 2:01 PM CST
Baseball Loses a Familiar Face, and Voice
Baseball announcer Tim McCarver poses in the press box before the start of Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 2, 2003, in New York.   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Tim McCarver, the All-Star catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster who during 60 years in baseball won two World Series titles with the St. Louis Cardinals and had a long run as the one of the country's most recognized television commentators, died Thursday at age 81, per the AP. McCarver's death was announced by baseball's Hall of Fame, which said he died Thursday in Memphis, Tennessee, where he was with his family. Among the few players to appear in major league games during four different decades, McCarver was a two-time All Star who worked closely with two future Hall of Fame pitchers: The tempestuous Bob Gibson and the introverted Steve Carlton.

McCarver switched to television soon after retiring in 1980 and became best known to national audiences for his 18-year partnership on Fox with play-by-play man Joe Buck. “I think there is a natural bridge from being a catcher to talking about the view of the game and the view of the other players,” McCarver told the Hall in 2012, the year he and Buck were given the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting. “It is translating that for the viewers. One of the hard things about television is staying contemporary and keeping it simple for the viewers.”

Six feet tall and solidly built, McCarver was a policeman’s son from Memphis. He was signed while still in high school by the Cardinals for $75,000, a generous offer for that time. He was just 17 when he debuted for them in 1959 and was in his early 20s when he became the starting catcher. During a 21-year career, when he also played for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Montreal Expos, and the Boston Red Sox, McCarver batted .271 overall and only twice struck out more than 40 times in a single season. In the postseason, he averaged .273 and had his best outing in the 1964 series, when the Cards defeated the New York Yankees in seven games.

(Read more obituary stories.)

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