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Van Patrick in the Detroit Tigers broadcast booth (1957)

Van Patrick (August 15, 1916 – September 29, 1974) was an American sportscaster, best known for his play-by-play work with the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers.

Patrick called Lions games from 1950 until his death in 1974[1] He had two stints with the Tigers, broadcasting for the team for one season in 1949 and then again from 1952 to 1959.[2]

During the 1960s and 1970s, Patrick was sports director for the Mutual Broadcasting System and broadcast Notre Dame football and Monday Night Football for the network. In addition, Patrick did TV sports news segments during news broadcasts on Detroit's WJBK-TV. Patrick had superb knowledge of both football and baseball, and was widely admired for his broadcasting skills during his radio heyday. He did not make the transition to television well, as he was naturally bald, and insisted on wearing a very inexpensive toupée in television appearances. "Van Patrick's toupée" was a source of many jokes in the Detroit area during that period.

Patrick was a graduate of Texas Christian University (TCU), where he played football with famed teammate Sammy Baugh.[3] He also played baseball and basketball at TCU.

After graduation, Patrick began broadcasting baseball play-by-play in various minor leagues, including the International League, the Texas League, and the old Southern Association.[3] His first major league play-by-play broadcasting was with the Cleveland Indians in 1948.[3] That year, he announced the World Series along with celebrated sportscaster Red Barber, the first World Series to be televised on a nationwide network.[3] The second game of that World Series announced by Patrick also made television history when a live broadcast of the Indians–Braves matchup was shown aboard the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Marylander passenger train travelling between Washington, D.C. and New York City, using a receiver operated by Bendix Corporation technicians.[4] An Associated Press reporter observing the demonstration said, "Technically, it was surprisingly good."[4]

From 1949 to 1953, Patrick was sports director at Detroit station WJR.[3] At the time of his death, he owned four radio stations.[5] Van Patrick died of cancer while preparing to call a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, Indiana.


Preceded by
Monday Night Football national radio play-by-play announcer
Succeeded by
Lindsey Nelson


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