Legendary announcer Joe Garagiola dies at age 90

By The Sports Xchange   |   March 23, 2016 at 7:36 PM
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Legendary baseball broadcaster Joe Garagiola died Wednesday at the age of 90.

The Arizona Diamondbacks, who employed Garagiola as a part-time broadcaster from 1998 to 2012, announced his passing on Twitter:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of baseball legend and former #Dbacks broadcaster Joe Garagiola."

Garagiola was awarded the Ford Frick Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991 after being the voice of baseball at NBC for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1961.

Garagiola worked alongside broadcasting legends like Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek and Bob Costas on NBC's "Game of the Week." His time at NBC also included many years at the "Today Show" (1967-73, 1990-92) and as a guest host on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson.

Garagiola spent nine seasons as a catcher in the major leagues from 1946 to 1954, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants. He had a .257 career batting average with 42 home runs with 255 RBIs.

"Not only was I not the best catcher in the major leagues, I wasn't even the best catcher on my street,'' Garagiola once said.

Garagiola also became the commentator for the California Angels and Diamondbacks until retiring from broadcasting in 2013.

When his son, Joe Garagiola Jr., was general manager of the Diamondbacks, Garagiola Sr. became a part-time color analyst. Garagiola Jr. is now the senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for Major League Baseball.

Garagiola was an advocate for the eradication of chewing tobacco in baseball, visiting major league camps and delivering graphic presentations to players about the dangers.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of this amazing man who was not just beloved by those of us in his family, but to generations of baseball fans who he impacted during his eight decades in the game," Garagiola's family said in a statement. "Joe loved the game and passed that love onto family, his friends, his teammates, his listeners and everyone he came across as a player and broadcaster. His impact on the game, both on and off the field, will forever be felt."

A funeral service will be held in his hometown of St. Louis and a local memorial will take place in Arizona at a later date.

"Joe was one-of-a-kind and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know him and his family," Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "His sense of humor certainly stood out to all of us, but perhaps more importantly, the mark he left in the community around him will carry on his legacy for generations to come."

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