“Changing of the Guard-Complete”
We’ve been spoiled for so long, us sports fans in Southern California. Spoiled by the greatness of the people who have broadcast the games of our teams over the years, on radio-television-cable.
Bob Miller, the NHL Hall of Fame Voice of the LA Kings, is retiring at the end of the season, ending a 44-year run as their Radio-TV voice. He leaves after two health scares, a quadruple heart bypass, then a mini-stroke.
We will forever remember his work with the Miracle on Manchester, the first years with Bernie Nichols, Marcel Dionne and Rogie Vachon. And of course the great nights covering all things Wayne Gretzky.
It will be strange this spring, this summer, this postseason pennant race, not to hear Vin Scully, who was the point man for all things Dodgers from Brooklyn to Chavez Ravine. His history, his artistry, will never be duplicated anywhere else, by anyone, at anytime. From the early 1950s thru 2016, he graced us with great moments and great gratitude.
In the NBA, we will never forget Chick Hearn, and the eras upon eras, of great games he delivered from West-Baylor-Wilt, right thru Showtime and the Shaq-Kobe era, painting everything Purple and Gold with the Lakers.
Dick Enberg has stepped aside as one of the most complete broadcasters we have ever heard, not just with the Angels back in the day, or the Padres recently, but everything in between, from the NFL, to the iconic UCLA days, to the Olympics and his signature Breakfast at Wimbledon.
Our beloved Jerry Coleman worked right up till the end, and wound up in Cooperstown too, a tremendous accomplishment. His stories, his malaprops, his personality, his love of history. We honored him for not just being a Yankee player, or a Padres broadcaster, but also for being a War Hero in the sky.
Ted Leitner remains on radio doing Padres game. Ralph Lawler, forever linked to the Clippers, thru some good years and lots of bad, are all that is left of those who came, stayed, and made us enjoy our teams while they were on the air.
I was lucky, for I grew up in a sports family, and remember Mel Allen, Phil Rizzuto, Red Barber on the Yankees. I recall a young Scully and a Connie Desmond-Jerry Doggett in Brooklyn. And Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons with the Giants.
Bob Miller’s retirement completes the circle of the very special broadcasters Southern California has been privledged to listen to.
Like I said, I, and you, have been spoiled, by the great voices doing our games for so many years.
We’ll probably never have an era like that ever again.