Earlier today shockwaves hit the Cincinnati Reds baseball world as Marty Brennaman announced that 2019 would be his final season calling games.
A message from Marty Brennaman: pic.twitter.com/c66DFmyjQS
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 16, 2019
The 76-year-old broadcaster has been the play-by-play voice for the Cincinnati Reds since the 1974 season. He took over for Al Michaels, joining the booth with Joe Nuxhall. The two worked together as a broadcast team for the next three decades before Nuxhall retired following the 2004 season.
Marty Brennaman has seen the best, and the worst of Cincinnati Reds baseball. He was there for the Big Red Machine’s two World Series in 1975 and 1976. He was there for the 1990 World Series sweep over the heavily favored Oakland Athletics. But he was also there for the 1982 Reds, and the entirety of “the lost decade”. He was around for the tough stretch that the team has gone through over the last several years.
Basically, Marty has seen just about everything. In his first year with the Reds he called Hank Aaron’s record tying 714th home run. He called a perfect game by Tom Browning. He got to call, unfortunately, a no-hitter in the playoffs by Roy Halladay. Brennaman was on the mic to call Ken Griffey Jr’s 500th home run. He was also on the mic to call his 600th home run. And perhaps my favorite, he was on the receiving end of a Banana Phone call from Adam Dunn, who asked if Scott Hatteberg was a good player, and if Marty had his shirt on.
In 1999 the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame inducted Marty Brennaman. A year later he won the Ford C. Frick Award, given out by the National Baseball Hall of Fame for “major contributions to the game of baseball”. In 2005 he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.
In what is currently an exclusive interview, Marty Brennaman spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty about his retirement. Go read the entire thing. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but this part seemed important to me, so I’m going to post it here:
I wanted to retire by saying after my last broadcast, this is it for me, then walk away. The Reds felt that would be a disservice to the fans and the ballclub. So I agreed to do it this way. I will be very grateful. And very uncomfortable.
Once I leave the booth, I’ll never broadcast another baseball game in this town. It’s not fair to the other guys in the booth. I will be involved in other areas.
Marty Brennaman has talked about this in the past – that he wanted to announce his retirement after he was done. The Reds seemed to talk him into not doing it that way. And I think that’s for the best. There are a lot of people who would have loved to have been able to make that final listen, who otherwise wouldn’t have had any idea to do so. Good thinking by the Reds. And good job to agree to it by Marty Brennaman. Hopefully the 2019 season will be one where we have a lot of those great calls by one of the best broadcasters that have been in the game of baseball. They’ve been tough to come by lately, but when they do, he’s still up there with the absolute best of them.
And this one belongs to the Reds.