BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION (From Wikipedia)
Curtis Edward “Curt” Gowdy (July 31, 1919–February 20, 2006) was an American sportscaster, well known as the longtime “voice” of the Boston Red Sox and for his coverage of many nationally-televised sporting events, primarily for NBC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s….
Gowdy began his Major League Baseball broadcasting career working as the No. 2 announcer to Mel Allen for New York Yankees games on radio and television in 1949–50. There, he succeeded Russ Hodges, who departed to become the New York Giants’ lead announcer when the Yankees and Giants decided to broadcast a full slate of 154 games, instead of sharing the same radio network and announcers for the 77 home games of each team that had been broadcast (no away games of either team were broadcast). Two years later, in Boston, the Red Sox and the Boston Braves followed a similar path, with each team opting for its own networks and announcers to allow each team to broadcast their full schedule, home and away. Jim Britt, who had called home games of both teams, decided to stay with the Braves, opening the top spot on the Red Sox’ broadcast team.
In April 1951 at the age of 31, Gowdy began his tenure as the lead announcer for the Red Sox. For the next 15 years, he called the exploits of generally mediocre Red Sox teams on WHDH radio and on three Boston TV stations: WBZ-TV, WHDH-TV, and WNAC-TV (WBZ and WNAC split the Red Sox TV schedule from 1948 through 1955; WBZ alone carried the Red Sox from 1955 through 1957; and WHDH took over in 1958). During that time, Gowdy partnered with two future baseball broadcasting legends: Bob Murphy and Ned Martin. Chronic back pain caused Gowdy to miss the entire 1957 season. He also did nightly sports reports on WHDH radio when his schedule permitted.
He left WHDH after the 1965 season for NBC Sports, where for the next ten years he called the national baseball telecasts of the Saturday afternoon Game of the Week and Monday Night Baseball during the regular season (and the All-Star Game in July), and the post-season playoffs and World Series in October.
Gowdy had numerous network assignments, first for ABC-TV in 1960, where he covered the first five seasons of the American Football League with broadcast partner Paul Christman. Gowdy and Christman also teamed to call college football for ABC in the 1960 and 1961 seasons. In the fall of 1965 he moved to NBC, with whom he would be employed for over a decade. Gowdy was the lead play-by-play announcer for the network for both the American Football League (AFC from 1970 on) and Major League Baseball, but Gowdy also covered a wide range of sports, earning him the nickname of the “broadcaster of everything.”
Besides Paul Christman, who followed him to NBC in 1965, his other football broadcast partners were Kyle Rote, Al DeRogatis, Don Meredith, John Brodie, and Merlin Olsen. His broadcast partners for baseball included Pee Wee Reese, Tony Kubek, Sandy Koufax, and Joe Garagiola. He also had many different partners for basketball. Al DeRogatis was also Gowdy’s partner for the college football games.
After the 1975 World Series, he was removed from NBC’s baseball telecasts, after a controversy over comments by a call by an umpire, and when sponsor Chrysler insisted on having Joe Garagiola (who was their spokesman in many commercials) be the lead play-by-play voice. While Gowdy was on hand in the press box for Carlton Fisk’s legendary home run in Game 6 of the 1975 Series, the actual calls went to two of Gowdy’s Red Sox successors, Dick Stockton on TV and Ned Martin on radio. Gowdy was Martin’s color man on that home run.
Gowdy continued as NBC’s lead NFL announcer through the 1978 season, with his final broadcast being the memorable Super Bowl XIII between Pittsburgh and Dallas. With NBC now anxious to promote Dick Enberg to the lead NFL position, Gowdy moved over to CBS and called NFL games on CBS for two seasons with Hank Stram and also did baseball on radio. He also called regional college football for ABC in 1982 and 1983. In 1987, Gowdy was the radio voice of the New England Patriots. In 1976, when Gowdy otherwise still worked for NBC, he was loaned to ABC to work on their Summer Olympics coverage in Montreal. Gowdy called swimming with Donna de Varona and basketball with Bill Russell.
Notable moments called by Gowdy
Curt Gowdy was present for some of American sports’ storied moments, including Ted Williams’ home run in his final at-bat in 1960, Super Bowl I, the AFL’s infamous “Heidi” game of 1968, and (after the 1968 pro football season) the third AFL-NFL World Championship game (Super Bowl III) in which Joe Namath and the New York Jets defeated the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. In 1971 Gowdy called to the country on Christmas Day the Longest Game in Pro Football History, When the Miami Dolphins defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24. He also covered Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” of 1972, Clarence Davis’ miraculous catch in a “sea of hands” from Oakland Raiders Quarterback Ken Stabler, to defeat the Miami Dolphins in the final seconds of a legendary 1974 AFC playoff game, and Hank Aaron’s 715th home run in 1974. In an interview by NFL Films, he said his most memorable game was Super Bowl III when the Jets upset the heavily-favored Colts 16–7 after Namath guaranteed victory. Gowdy endeared himself to long-suffering American Football League fans when it was learned that in an off-air break towards the end of the game, he asked rhetorically: “I wonder if that (S.O.B.) Tex Maule is watching?”, a reference to the Sports Illustrated writer who for years had denigrated the AFL. On-air, in contrast to his contemporary announcers of NFL games, he avoided their hyperbole and transparent adulation of players, and gave steady, non-partisan, but colorful descriptions of AFL games. Gowdy was also known for the occasional malapropism, including a consoling comment just after the Red Sox lost the 1975 World Series: “Their future is ahead of them!” Notable assignments
Over the course of a career that stretched into the 1980s, Gowdy covered pro football (both the AFL and NFL), Major League Baseball, college football, and college basketball. He was involved in the broadcast of 13 World Series, 16 baseball All-Star Games, 9 Super Bowls, 14 Rose Bowls, 8 Olympic Games and 24 NCAA Final Fours. He also hosted the long-running outdoors show The American Sportsman on ABC.
Gowdy called all the Olympic Games televised by ABC from 1964–84 with Roone Arledge’s sports department at ABC. In the mid-1970s Gowdy was host and producer of The Way It Was, for PBS, and in later years provided historic commentary for Inside the NFL, on HBO.
Gowdy was also close friends with Arledge, and acknowledges that he gives him all the credit for making ABC what it is today, including the creation of the network’s sports department, and the innovations for televising sporting events that made the sports departments at NBC and CBS jealous. The two were the creators, and very first producers for the Wide World of Sports television show. In 1970, he was coveted by ABC’s Roone Arledge for the new Monday Night Football, but Gowdy was bound by his contract to NBC Sports (although he continued with Grits Gresham of Natchitoches, Louisiana, to host the outdoors show The American Sportsman on ABC).
Gowdy was said to have a warm, slightly gravelly voice and an unforced, easy style that set him apart from his peers. (Author John Updike once described him as sounding “like everybody’s brother-in-law”.) Unlike many well-known sportscasters, Gowdy never developed catchphrases or signature calls, but merely described the action in a straightforward manner. Examples:
“ Jack Fisher into his windup, here’s the pitch…Williams swings, and there’s a long drive to deep right…it could be…it could be…IT IS! A home run for Ted Williams, in his last time at bat in the major leagues! – Calling Williams’ final career at-bat on September 28, 1960. ”
“ The ball’s hit deep… deep…it is gone! He did it! He did it! Henry Aaron… is the all-time home run… leader now! – Calling Aaron’s 715th career home run on April 8, 1974.
Gowdy’s career wound down after The American Sportsman was canceled in 1985.
He briefly came out of retirement in 1987 to call the New England Patriots on radio, and in 1988 he returned to NBC to call September NFL games with Merlin Olsen and old partner Al DeRogatis, while Olsen’s regular partner Dick Enberg was covering the Summer Olympics in Seoul.
In May 2003, a few months shy of his 84th birthday, Gowdy called a Red Sox–Yankees game from Fenway Park, as part of the ESPN Major League Baseball “Living Legends” series. At the end of the broadcast, he thought he could have done better. ESPN’s Chris Berman said, “We’ll give you another chance.” Gowdy replied, “Call me back.”
Gowdy also co-hosted the DCI Championships on PBS from 1989-1993 with Steve Rondinaro.
In 1963, Gowdy purchased radio stations 800/WCCM and 93.7/WCCM-FM in Lawrence, Massachusetts, later changing the FM station’s call letters to WCGY to somewhat match his name. Gowdy also owned several radio stations in Wyoming, including KOWB and KCGY in Laramie. He sold his broadcast interests in Massachusetts in 1994 and his Wyoming stations in 2002. He also owned 850/WEAT & WEAT-FM in West Palm Beach, Florida, and WBBX(AM) in New Hampshire. The year away from broadcasting the Red Sox in 1957 awakened him to the fact that he might need an alternate way of making of living, leading to his interest in station ownership….
In 1970, Gowdy became the first sportscaster to receive the George Foster Peabody Award. He was elected to the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1985, he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame along with the Voice of the Yankees Mel Allen and Chicago legend Jack Brickhouse. He served as the organization’s vice president and was a member of its Board of Directors. In addition, he was given the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, the Pete Rozelle Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1992, and was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1995. Gowdy was president of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for several years, and that institution’s Curt Gowdy Media Award is presented annually to outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters; he was one of its first two recipients.
Curt Gowdy’s 22 Halls of Fame honors/inductions:
1. Conservation Hall of Fame International – April 16, 1973
2. International Fishing Hall of Fame – 1981
3. Natl. Sportscasters & Sportswriters Hall of Fame – 1981
4. Sportswriters & Broadcasters Hall of Fame – 1984
5. National Baseball Hall of Fame – 1984, Ford C. Frick Award recipient
6. American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame – 1985
7. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame – 1990, Curt Gowdy Media Award recipient
8. Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame – 1990
9. Gold Medal Hall of Fame Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and
Sciences in New England
10. Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame – 1992
11. Pro Football Hall of Fame – 1993, Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award recipient
12. Oklahoma Assoc. of Broadcasters Hall of Fame – 1994
13. Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame – 1995
14. American Football League Hall of Fame – 1995
15. University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame – September 25, 1998
16. Florida Sports Hall of Fame – 1999
17. Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame — 2001
18. International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame – 2003
19. Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame – 2003
20. Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame – 2004
21. National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame – 2005
22. Rose Bowl Hall of Fame — 2005 inductee (Jan. 3, 2006)
Curt Gowdy died at the age of eighty-six at his winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, after an extended battle with leukemia. His funeral procession circled Fenway Park and he was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Pallbearers included his former NBC baseball analyst and New York Yankees shortstop Tony Kubek. Gowdy was survived by his wife Geraldine (Jerre) née Dawkins,whom he married June 24, 1949, daughter Cheryl Ann, sons Curt, Jr., and Trevor, and five grandchildren.
THE CURT GOWDY RADIO SHOW
Among the 2,500 tapes which were discovered when the warehouse was closed, were a series of radio interviews for “The Curt Gowdy Show.” The interviews were apparently designed as interstitial programs, to be inserted by radio stations between longer programs, as was the case of a number of other Hartwest-produced radio series. Unlike most of the, a listing of the interviews was found, which is set out below; the numbers correspond to the “Show Numbers. There may be others, but their discovery will have to wait until the entire radio archive can be” cataloged. We plan to release the interviews below, on our Mr. FAT-W Audio label, during 2013.
1. BARBARA JO RUBIN — We hear the call of woman’s first win at a parimutuel track in U.S. racing history. Young Barbara Jo Rubin tells Curt Gowdy why a pretty yount girl wanted to become a jockey. Veteran male jockeys Angel Cordero and Bobby Ussery supply some reaction.
2. TED WILLIAMS — Ted Williams once told Curt Gowdy that he’d never manage a baseball team. So Curt looks on ol’ Ted as his good friend takes over the helm of the hapless Washington Senators.
3. JIM TICE — Jim Tice is president of the American Hot Rod Associateion. With the sounds of the National Finals in the background, Curt Gowdy gets a birdseye view of just what today’s drag racing is all about.
4. BOB LUNN — One of golfdom’s young “lions”, Bob Lunn, tells Curt Gowdy how he got started on the lucrative pro tour….and his wife Angie remembers how tough it got before the big money started rolling in.
5. DENNY McCLAIN — Detroit pitching ace Denny McClain tells Curt Gowdy he has as much interest in flying his airplane as he does in pitching his way into Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
6. DON BEDIGEES — Curt Gowdy visits with Don Bedigees, and gets a demonstration of how a well-run skeet and trap shooting center operates.
7. BUZZ FAZIO, JIM STEFANITCH, BOBBY COOPER — Curt Gowdy gets some new slants on the Pro Bowling Tour, one of America’s most popular participation sports, from leading money winner Jim Stefanitch… rookie Bobby Cooper… and veteran Buzz Fazio.
8. DENNIS “SKIP” MACHOLZ — Dennis “Skip” Macholz was the hottest young football prospect to come out of New York’s suburban Nassau Couty since Jim Brown. As a bluechipper, he felt the pressures of college recruiting ever since his football ability blossomed in his sophomore year. And Skip’s dad tells Curt Gowdy that he saw the whole thing as a real “Hollywood job.”
9. DALE CARMAGAN — Dale Carmagan is a professional snowmobile racer. And he tells Curt Gowdy that it’s fun… but not easy… to race at fifty degrees below zero.
10. BILL LATTIN — Curt Gowdy gets strapped into a sailplane with instructor, Bill Lattin, at Godfrey Airport in Leesburg, Virginia…named for neighbor Arthur Godfrey, who supplied all the land for the airstrip. We hear Curt’s reaction to soaring through the air without benefit of any kind of motor.
11. CARL YASTRZEMSKI
12. — (ubnknown)
13. KITE FLYING
14. YANKEE TRAINER
15. BOB GIBSON
16. SONNY JURGENSEN — Vince Lombardi seeks to perpetuate his awesome image as a gootball god.. With a team that hasn’t had a winning season in many years. At Green Bay Lombardi controlled his football machine through his great quazrterback, Bart Starr. In Washington, it’s SONNY JURGENSEN who shouts out the signals…and the Lombardi policies… to the Redskins. Sonny tells Curt Gowdy how it feels to play under Lombardi.
17. THE WALKER (DAVE ROMANSKI) — DAVE ROMANSKI just wanted to trim down and lose a little weight. Lifting weights was too tough – and running was too much for him. So he walked his way to a slim waistline – and a berton on the Olympic team that represented the United States in Mexico. Dave tells Curt Gowdy that it has been a lot of fun.. But there’s no money in it.
18. EARL STROM (BASKETBALL REFEREE) — A professional basketball official in the National Basketball Association is on the move from November to April – rotating from city to city – keeping a steady hand on a fast and often rough sport. EARL STROM tells Curt Gowdy what it feels like to be the modern version of a traveling judge from the old wild west.
19. SCOTTY MORRISSON (HOCKEY OFFICIAL) — Pro hockey is a tough sport.. Not only on the players, but also on the men in striped shirts who try to maintain the controlled chaos. Why do some National Hockey League officials seem to allow fights to get pretty bloody? NHL referee-in-chief, SCOTTY MORRISSON, tells Curt Gowdy just how short the fuse isn an official’s patience should be– and what makes a good hockey referee.
20. BOWIE KUHN — BOWIE KUHN moved right up the street from his New York law office and took over the reins in the Baseball Commissioner’s office…. at a time when most people thought things were going downhill. His strong hand and gentle manner have helped baseball move toward a much brighter future. Curt Gowdy was impressed by the Commissioner’s love for the game.
21. ANDY GRANATELLI — Wherever the Indie cars race, ANDY GRANATELLI is affectionately known as “Mr. 500.” He nver won the bigh Memorial Day classic himself, and it took over twenty years for one of his cars to win it. He tells Curt Gowdy about some of his fights for innovation at the world-famous raceway.
22. KARATE — The dangerous marial art of KARATE has become an after-work scene of relaxation and physical fitness for over a quarter-of-a-million Americans. Curt Gowdy visits a Karate class…gets some tips from the professor and three different reactions from students.
23. DR. HARRY KAPLAN (SPORTS INJURIES) — DR, HARRY KAPLAN is a neurosurgeon and a member of the New York State Athletic Commission. He puts SPORTS INJURIES in perspective for Curt Gowdy and cautions that his fellow physicians must take a more active part in community athletic programs.
24. OLGA CONNOLLY (AMATEURISM) — OLGA CONNOLLY knows how it feels to be a top athlete in a Communist country. Czechoslovakia paid her a handsome subsidy each month as a national athlete until she defected after the 1956 Olympics to marry U.S. Hammer-Thrower Harold Connolly. Olga gives Curt Gowdy a few thoughts on American AMATEURISM.
25. YANKEE BAT BOYS — How many teenage baseball fans would like to travel with a Major League team, know all the players on a first name basis and even shag flies in uniform before every game? … and get paid for it too! Curt Gowdy finds out what it’s like from the NEW YORK YANKEES two BATBOYS.
26. BRUCE TULLOH — Bruce Tulloh is an English schoolteacher who capped his 20-year track career by setting a new record for the cross-country run from Los Angeles to New York. Bruce and hyis wife, Sue, give Curt Gowdy their impresisons of the U.S.
27. rACING SAFETY (DICK OTTE) — Many of the safety features built into today’s automobiles and roadways are the result of research and development done at major auto raceways all over the world. DICK OTTE is the Director of Safety at the Riverside International Raceway… and tells Curt Gowdy about some of the innovations he can expect on the car of tomorrow.
28. SWIMMING CLUBS — Curt Gowdy finds out why swimming competition has been so monopolized by teenagers in this country. He visits a SWIMMING CLUB and gets caught up in some hithpspirited fun.
29. POWERBOAT RACING (BOB TEDESKA) — BOB TEDESKA takes Curt Gowdy for a 160-mine-=an-hour ride in his new powerboat…the Pink Elephant. Curt does this show hanging on for dear life to a little wooden seat.
30. CFL (JAKE GADAUR) — The Canadians play a faster, more mobile version of our game of football. With a bigger field, back in motion, and the mandatory punt return, CFL Commissioner Jake Gadaur tells Curt Gowdy it’s a more entertaining game for the spectator.
31. BOB SHORT — Is a major league sports franchise a good suggestion for the man who has everything? BOB SHORT bought the hapless Washington Senators… talked Ted Williams out of returement… and now is spending just about all of his time learning to be a knowledgable owner. He tells Curt Gowdy what the fascination is.
32. RACING DOCTOR (DR. IRVING OMPHROY) Taking care of the racing drivers and spectators at Riverside International Raceway makes the practice of medicine a little more interesting for DR. IRVING OMPHROY…but he tells Curt Gowdy that he’d like to just sit and watch a race as a spectator some day.
33. MAURICE MONTGOMERY — MAURICE MONTGOMERY tells Curt Gowdy that he’s never trained… observes no special diet… and gets no benefit whatever from athletics. Curt tries to find out how he beats all the 40-year-olds every time he runs a marathon against them. He’s 63.
34. CURLING — The Canadian game of CURLING is much like shuffleboard, but it’s played on ice. Earl Eshagan, manager of a curling club in Toronto, tells Curt Gowdy why this new sport is getting so popular in the U.S.
35. SKIING — Curt Gowdy travels to the Hunter Mountain Ski Bowl way up in the Catskill Mountains of New York to see what this SKIING craze is all about. He finds out that he likes the after-skiing action in the Lodge best.
36. MICKEY MANTLE — The New York Yankees retired uniform number 7 in tribute to their great superstar, MICKEY MANTLE. Curt Gowdy was on hand to hear Mickey’s farewell to the team he led to 12 championships during his 18 year major league career.
37. NCAA (DAVE NELSON) — DAVE NELSON is on the board of governors of the Naitonal Collegiate Athletic Association. A former Michigan State football star and Athletic Director at Deleware University, he has some expert comments for Curt Gowdy on today’s college recruiting practices.
38. RODEO — RODEOS have grown from a form of western entertainment to become a world-wide sport. Curt Gowdy talks with two rodeo stars and makes a great sales pitch for his own home-town product.
39. FRANK ROBINSON — The Baitimore Orioles’ great star, FRANK ROBINSON, is looking around for a new job. He tells Curt Gowdy why he’d like to become the Major Leagues’ first Negro Manager.
40. O.J. SIMPSON — O.J. SIMPSON finally came to terms with Buffalo Bills owner, Ralph Wilson….and he tells Curt Gowdy what it’s like to make the transition from Saturday hero to Sunday rookie.
41. TENNIS REFEREE (CAPT. MIKE GIBSON) — CAPTAIN MIKE GIBSON is the only professional TENNIS REFEREE in the world. He runs all the big tournemants, and tells Curt Gowdy how he handles prima donnas.
42. LADY UMPIRE (MRS. BERNICE GERA) — The all-male world of baseball may be crumbling…just like so many other male sanctuaries have done recently. MRS. BERNICE GERA tells Curt Gowdy how much she enjoys being organized baseball’s only WOMAN UMPIRE.
43. RACING HANDICAPPER (TOMMY TROTTER) — Thoroughbred racing depends upon its racing secretaries to come up with races that make for continuing spectator interest. TOMMY TROTTER controls things for the New York Racing Association… and tells Curt Gowdy how tough it is to pick a winner.
44. RACING DRIVERS (McLAREN & MOSS) — AUTO RACING has become this country’s fifth most popular spectator sport… and Curt Gowdy finds out why from two of the world’s most famous drivers… BRUCE McLAREN and STIRLING MOSS.
45. SMALL MAN IN BASKETBALL (LENNIEWILKINS) — Curt Gowdy was a five-nine basketball star at the University of Wyoming some years ago. He gets some comments on the SMALL MAN IN BASKETBALL today… from one who made it to the pros… and three of pro basketball’s top scounts.
46. ASTROTURF — Bob Higgins played four years of pro football on synthetic grass, and tells Curt Gowdy why ASTROTURF may solve most of the knee and ankle injuries in contact sports.
47. JOCKEY (JOHN ROTZ) — For those who love horses, and are small enough, life as a JOCKEY has become a very lucrative career choice… as Curt Gowdy finds out from veteran rider, JOHN ROTZ.
48. BOWLING PROPRIETOR — BOWLING became the big business it is because proprietors like Don Smith in Lawrence, Massachusetts made it a family sport. Curt Gowdy gets pointers on how to run a bowling alley.
49. GOLF RABBITS — GOLF RABBITS don’t find the big pro tour as glamerous as most people think it is. Dan Moss and Les Peterson, two of these freshman pros, tell Curt Gowdy why.
50. NANCY SEAVER (TOM SEAVER’S WIFE) — The New York Mets’ ace pitching star, Tom Seaver, has all the ingredients that make a great ballplayer. But his biggest assets turns out to be his wife, NANCY SEAVER… and Curt Gowdy finds out why.