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CBS names Jack Buck to replace Musburger

By
MIKE BARNES UPI Sports Writer

Jack Buck, the longtime voice of the St. Louis Cardinals, Thursday was named the replacement for Brent Musburger as the top baseball play-by-play announcer for CBS Sports.

The move to pair the 65-year-old Hall of Famer with analyst Tim McCarver came after CBS Executive Producer Ted Shaker said he held a 'hypothetical conversation' with ABC's Al Michaels.

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Shaker indicated he also talked with the agent for Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Vin Scully.

'We looked at all the options and decided this was the best way to go,' Shaker said during a conference call from New York. 'Al Michaels is under contract at ABC (through 1993) and that wasn't an option.'

Musburger blasted Shaker and CBS Sports President Neal Pilson Thursday night in an interview on ABC's 'Primetime Live' with Sam Donaldson.

'Shaker wants puppets for announcers and I'm not a puppet,' Musburger declared in his first interview since he was fired Sunday. He also said Shaker and Pilson have 'spread the venom' since his firing and denied salary demands were a reason for his firing.

'You don't have to pay me $2 million a year,' said Musburger, who was earning $2 million a year when CBS fired him.

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Before the surprise announcement that Musburger would not be rehired, Buck was set to team with Jim Kaat on CBS's second team of announcers.

Shaker said Dick Stockton will take Buck's place, with Greg Gumbel remaining as a studio host.

Buck was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. He began working for the Cardinals in 1954, when he joined CBS-owned KMOX-TV and radio in St. Louis.

Buck has broadcast baseball on CBS Radio since 1983 and has called NFL games with Hank Stram on the network since 1978. He called many St. Louis games with McCarver as the Cardinals' catcher from 1959-69.

'Many would say (Buck) could be called the Pat Summerall of baseball,' Shaker said. 'He's been around for (almost) 40 seasons. He has such a longstanding relationship with major-league baseball. He has tremendous popularity.'

Stockton, who currently works NBA games for CBS, is a former play-by-play man with the Boston Red Sox. He called Carlton Fisk's dramatic 12th-inning homer in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for NBC.

CBS, which wrested baseball from NBC and ABC by paying $1.06 billion over four years, will televise the first of 16 regular-season games April 14. Buck and McCarver will work a Cubs-Pirates game, while Stockton and Kaat will call a Dodgers-Astros contest.

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Shaker said CBS is committed to these announcers for the season. Asked the possibility of Michaels joining CBS during the year, Shaker replied: 'Believe me, Al Michaels is under contract at ABC. If he comes over here, it's going to be news for me.'

Todd Musburger, the agent for his brother Brent, said this week that CBS had been pursuing a replacement for Musburger before Sunday's announcement at the Final Four in Denver.

'We don't want to repond to anything Todd Musburger has said since Monday night,' CBS spokeswoman Susan Kerr said. 'We don't want to get into anything about that.'

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