Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Joe Garagiola (1926-2016)

His playing career wasn't as distinguished as you'd think, considering he went into the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster, not a player. Joe Garagiola parlayed it into a considerably fruitful career outside of baseball.

After 9 seasons with St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and the NY Giants, among others, Garagiola retired in 1955 and turned to broadcasting, starting with the Cardinals, before going national with NBC. His association with the network opened other doors for Garagiola, including hosting the original Sale of the Century, serving as co-host of The Today Show, and, in addition to his work as both a play-by-play announcer and color analyst, the latter with the ageless Vin Scully, Garagiola hosted the Monday pre-game show, The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola, from 1972-5, a clip of which follows:

Garagiola's 1st book, 1960's Baseball is a Funny Game, was loaded with ancedotes and jokes, some of which were the self-deprecating kind that helped reintroduce Garagiola as a humble broadcaster. Kind of like another catcher who turned to broadcasting--and is still at it today--Bob Uecker.

Garagiola signed on with Goodson-Todman to host He Said, She Said, which was later rebooted as Tattletales, and To Tell The Truth after the retirement of Garry Moore. He retired from broadcasting in 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, for whom his son, Joe, Jr., I believe, is still employed.

Today, Joe joins his St. Louis childhood pal, Yogi Berra, in baseball heaven, having passed away at 90. We'll all miss you, Joe. Rest in peace.

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