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Jon Miller (born October 11, 1951) is an American sportscaster, known primarily for his broadcasts of Major League Baseball. He is currently employed as a play-by-play announcer by the San Francisco Giants and ESPN. He received the Ford Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.[1]

Contents

Biography

Early life and career

Jon Miller grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the son of Gerald and Winona Miller and older brother to Paul, Leslie and Susan Miller. After graduating from Hayward High School in 1969 and briefly attending the College of San Mateo, Miller worked as sports director for KFTY television in Santa Rosa. In 1974, he landed his first baseball play-by play job, calling that year's World Series champion Oakland Athletics.

For a brief period in the 1970s, Miller broadcast for the California Golden Seals of the National Hockey League. He also spent the early part of his career announcing University of San Francisco as well as University of the Pacific basketball (1976–1980), the Golden State Warriors of the NBA (part-time, 19791982), and the original San Jose Earthquakes of the North American Soccer League.

Jon Miller's first network exposure came in 1976, when he was selected by CBS-TV to broadcast the NASL Championship Game. From 1974–1976, Miller did play-by-play for the Washington Diplomats of the NASL. He also announced the Soccer Game of the Week for nationally-syndicated TVS from 1977–1978.

Baseball career

Miller was dismissed by the Athletics following the 1974 season. After brief stints with the Texas Rangers (1978-79) and the Boston Red Sox (1980-82), he was hired in 1983 by Baltimore's WFBR Radio, which at the time served as the flagship station for the Baltimore Orioles.

Baltimore Orioles

After the 1982 season, Chuck Thompson moved from the radio booth to do TV broadcasts full time, and WFBR's president Harry Shriver brought in Miller to handle radio play-by-play duties with fellow broadcaster Tom Marr. In his first year in Baltimore, Miller called the Orioles' championship run:

Everybody else is in muted silence. The pitch! Line drive! Ripken catches it at shortstop! And the Orioles are champions of the world! - Miller calling the final out of Game 5 of the 1983 World Series.

He eventually signed a contract directly with the Orioles and, while the broadcast rights eventually moved to rival station WBAL, Miller remained their primary announcer through 1996. At the end of that season, new Orioles owner Peter Angelos, displeased with Jon's often candid commentary of the Orioles play, declined to renew his contract, citing a desire for a broadcaster who would "bleed more orange and black".[2] As one of the most accomplished radio and TV announcers in baseball, Jon had plenty of options available to him, and thus was able to return to the Bay Area and join his beloved hometown Giants.

San Francisco Giants

Since 1997, Miller has been the primary play-by-play voice of the San Francisco Giants (replacing Hank Greenwald), calling games on KNBR radio as well as KTVU (1997–2007) and KNTV (2008–present) television. In February 2007 he signed a six-year extension to remain the voice of the Giants through at least the 2012 season.[2]

On May 27, 2003, during a game between the Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks, Miller called a play involving two defensive errors by the Diamondbacks and at least three separate baserunning mistakes by Giants outfielder Ruben Rivera. When Rivera was finally thrown out at home plate trying to score what would have been the winning run, Miller declared,

That was the worst base running in the history of the game!

The phrase was repeated numerous times on sports radio and highlight shows such as SportsCenter, and quickly became one of the most famous calls of Miller's long career. He did a similar call on the radio during Game 3 of the 2004 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, when Jeff Suppan made a baserunning mistake.

His call of home run #756

On August 7, 2007, Miller made the call of Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th home run on KNBR. His call of the historic home run will likely go down in history as the voice of the moment:

Three and two to Bonds. Everybody standing here at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. An armada of nautical craft gathered in McCovey Cove beyond the right field wall. Bonds one home run away from history. (crack of the bat) AND HE SWINGS, AND THERE'S A LONG ONE DEEP INTO RIGHT CENTER FIELD, WAY BACK THERE, IT'S GONE!!! A HOME RUN! Into the center field bleachers to the left of the 421 foot marker. An extraordinary shot to the deepest part of the yard! And Barry Bonds with 756 home runs, he has hit more home runs than anyone who has ever played the game!

National baseball work

From 19861989, Miller did backup play-by-play for NBC's Saturday Game of the Week telecasts, paired with either Tony Kubek or Joe Garagiola. He also called regional telecasts for The Baseball Network in 1994-1995.

Since 1990 he has done national television and radio broadcasts of regular-season and postseason games for ESPN, most prominently alongside Hall of Famer Joe Morgan on the network's Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. Among his assignments to date, he has called 12 World Series for ESPN Radio.

Miller has received numerous honors for his ESPN work, including a Cable ACE Award and several Emmy Award nominations. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2010 the Baseball Hall of Fame selected him for its Ford C. Frick Award.

Other appearances

Miller was the play-by-play broadcaster for the 2K Sports Major League Baseball series video baseball game series.

Miller's voice can be heard in an 1982 episode of Cheers, during a scene where the gang at the bar is watching a Red Sox game on the television. He is also briefly heard in the films 61* and Summer Catch.

In 1998, Miller wrote a book with Mark S Hyman entitled Confessions of a Baseball Purist: What's Right—and Wrong—with Baseball, as Seen from the Best Seat in the House (ISBN 0-8018-6316-3), where he expounds on the current state of the sport.

Commentating style

Miller's delivery is notable for his easygoing, sometimes-humorous manner and measured use of hyperbole, particularly in banter with his partner sportscasters. He livens up many broadcasts with a few Hawaiian and Japanese phrases spoken with impeccable pronunciation, and has been known to announce a half inning totally in Spanish.

It is notable that Miller generally pronounces non-Anglo-American names with the source language pronunciation, in contrast with broadcasters who "Americanize" foreign-named players.

Miller will occasionally quote lines from Shakespeare plays during radio broadcasts. He is well known for his foul ball call, "That ball is fooooul", and his emphatic cries of "Safe!" on close plays and "Two!" for a successful double play. Early in his career, Miller would punctuate home runs with the signature call, "Tell it goodbye!" (in emulation of longtime Giants announcer Lon Simmons), although he has eschewed this in recent years. His home run call for Hispanic batters is now punctuated, "Adios, pelota!"

Miller is noted in baseball circles for his impersonation of Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. Miller also imitates Harry Caray, Chuck Thompson, Jack Buck, Al Michaels, Babe Ruth, Bob Sheppard, and Harry Kalas, among others. During a rain delay at Baltimore, Miller performed a 30 minute impression of Vin Scully talking about the "zen of Baseball," a tape that still travels around the Internet. During one makeup game at Memorial Stadium, Miller struck up a conversation on the air with a fan in the stands wearing a portable radio to liven up a slow game.

Asked how he got into broadcasting play by play of baseball games, he recalled being in the booth for a major league game with one of the announcers of the day. This announcer had a sandwich in one hand and the latest best seller in the other. Between pitches he would read a page, and sometimes take a bite from the sandwich. Miller told the audience (WBAL - 1990s) that he decided that any job where you could watch a ball game, eat dinner and read a good book was the one for him.

References

External links

Preceded by
Vin Scully
World Series national radio play-by-play announcer
1998-Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent







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