List of Oakland Athletics broadcasters: Wikis

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Current broadcasters

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Radio

Oakland Athletics' games are broadcast on flagship radio station KTRB 860 AM - San Francisco. The A's radio network of 18 stations (3 stations are Nights/Weekends only) reach baseball fans in Northern California and Nevada.

The Athletics radio broadcast team consists of Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo and occasionally Ray Fosse (radio only broadcasts). Korach, A's play-by-play announcer since 1996, moved up to the lead position with the death of Bill King. Cotroneo has had 13 years of major-league experience, most recently with the Texas Rangers. King, who died October 18, 2005, was the lead radio voice of the Athletics for 25 years, from 1981 through 2005, the longest tenure as an A's announcer since the team's games were first broadcast in 1938. King was paired in the booth with Lon Simmons from 1981 through 1995. Former A's catcher Ray Fosse has served as the broadcast team's analyst since 1986. Since 2001, Steve Bitker has served as a back-up play-by-play announcer, averaging about 20 games per season. He has had limited appearances in 2006, filling in when Korach was on vacation.

Robert Buan has held the position of Athletics broadcasting manager since 1995. Additionally, he hosts the "Extra Innings" radio post-game show, in which fans may call in to talk about the A's with Buan or a guest. The show is often from the stadium or in a studio. Select shows are broadcast from local bars or restaurants before a live audience.

King, a native of Bloomington, Illinois, was perhaps the most well-known sports announcer in the Bay Area, having previously handled play-by-play work for football's Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders (1966-1992) and basketball's San Francisco and Golden State Warriors (1962-1983). His trademark catchphrase, "Holy Toledo!" was familiar to Northern California sports fans for over forty years. King and his fellow Athletics radio announcers, Ken Korach and Ray Fosse, were ranked as the 2nd best broadcast team in the American League by USA Today in 2005.[1]

Television

Glen Kuiper, brother of San Francisco Giants broadcaster Duane, is the A's television play-by-play announcer. For over two decades former major league catcher, Ray Fosse has analyzed the games. When not doing so in the television booth, Fosse adds to the radio broadcast team. From 1991-2003, the team's primary TV play-by-play announcer was Greg Papa. A's games are only broadcast on Comcast SportsNet California.

Stadium announcer

Roy Steele has been the Athletics' official stadium announcer at the Coliseum every year since the team's move to Oakland in 1968. His booming baritone voice has earned him the Voice of God moniker among A's fans, although it was first bestowed upon him by sports announcer Jon Miller after a visit to the Coliseum as a fan sitting in the stands. Steele had been an independent Baptist minister for 17 years before being named stadium announcer and finds the name "a little overpowering". From 1968 through 2004, Steele had missed fewer than ten home games, but in September 2005, an illness (achalasia, a rare disorder of the esophagus) prevented him from announcing several games including most of the final homestand. The 73-year-old Steele was ill for most 2006, and remained at his home in Auburn, California while recovering. His interim replacement was Dick Callahan, who also announced for the Golden State Warriors. Steele returned behind the microphone beginning with the A's exhibition game vs. the Giants on April 1, 2007.

Previous broadcasters

Philadelphia years

In 1938, a young Texan named Byrum Saam became the first radio voice of the A’s. Saam, later joined by Claude Haring, broadcast all the Athletics’ home games on station WIBG. Because Saam and Haring also broadcast Phillies’ home games as well, A’s road games were only broadcast when there was no conflict with a Phillies home game. Even so, the team's road game broadcasts were what were called “ticker tape games” in that era. Saam and Haring would broadcast from studios in Philadelphia, reconstructing the game from telegraphic feeds brought in by assistants. Beginning in 1950, the Athletics began broadcasting all games, home and away, on WIBG with Saam and Haring accompanying the team on road trips. (The Phillies hired their own announcers in 1950 and broadcast their games on a different radio station.) Their tenure as A's broadcast announcers came to an end after the 1954 season, when the team was sold and moved.

Kansas City years

When the Athletics moved to Kansas City for the 1955 season, Merle Harmon and Billy Ray were hired as play-by-play announcers. Harmon remained the voice of the A’s until 1962, when then-owner Charles O. Finley replaced him with Monte Moore, an Oklahoma native.

On September 16, 1964, Betty Caywood, previously a television weather analyst, was hired by owner Finley to join the broadcasting crew, becoming the first female play-by-play broadcaster in major league baseball. She finished out the 1964 season, but did not return in 1965.

Since the move to Oakland

Moore came west with the team’s move to Oakland in 1968, remaining the team’s principal radio voice through the 1977 season, and its television voice until his retirement in 1980. He came out of retirement in 1985 to handle local TV play-by-play on a part-time basis with Ted Robinson until 1988, and full-time thereafter until Dick Stockton replaced him to start the 1993 season.

Moore was disliked and mistrusted by many of the team’s players over the years. He was often accused of being owner Finley’s “mole,” whose job it was to spy on the players and report back to Finley. In particular, Moore was accused of reporting to Finley an incident which took place on the team’s airline flight from Boston to Kansas City in August, 1967, in which several players allegedly were drunk and making “suggestive” remarks to flight attendants. Manager Alvin Dark and star player Ken Harrelson were fired by Finley as a result. Moore consistently denied all such accusations.

During Moore’s tenure, he had a number of co-announcers with him in the booth, including Harry Caray, Bob Elson, Al Helfer, Red Rush, and Jim Woods, all of whom had achieved fame as major-league broadcasters elsewhere before joining the A’s, and Jon Miller, who went on to success with the Orioles and Giants. Former major league players Curt Flood, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, and Jim Piersall served as A’s announcers at one time, as did former player and manager Bill Rigney.

The beloved Bill King [1] announced the A's games on Radio from 1981 to 2005. He was a bay area legend, having announced Golden State Warriors basketball & Oakland Raiders football games for years. He partnered on A's broadcasts for 15 years with Lon Simmons, creating an unmatched 1-2 punch of hall of fame broadcasters. Lon Simmons had previously been an announcer for the A's crossbay rivals the San Francisco Giants for many years.

Broadcasters through the years

 

See also

References

  1. ^ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_King
  • Jordan, David M. The Athletics of Philadelphia: Connie Mack's White Elephants, 1901-1954. McFarland & Co., Jefferson NC, 1999. ISBN 0-7864-0620-8.
  • Peterson, John E. The Kansas City Athletics: A Baseball History 1954-1967. McFarland & Co., Jefferson NC, 1999. ISBN 0-7864-1610-6.
  • 2006 Oakland Athletics Media Guide.
  • Knapp, Gwen, "Voice of God," San Francisco Chronicle, July 9, 2006.

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