Curtis Edward 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 and ABC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s. His accomplishments include coining the nickname "The Granddaddy of Them All" for the Rose Bowl Game, taking the moniker from the Cheyenne Frontier Days in his native Wyoming.
Gowdy in the early 1950s.
Curtis Edward Gowdy
July 31, 1919
|Died||February 20, 2006 (aged 86)|
|Resting place||Mount Auburn Cemetery|
|Alma mater||University of Wyoming, 1942|
|Spouse(s)||Jerre Dawkins (m. 1949–2006; his death)|
|Children||2 sons, 1 daughter|
|Service/||U.S. Army Air Forces|
|Years of service||1942–1943|
The son of Jack Gowdy, a manager and dispatcher for the Union Pacific railroad, Curt Gowdy was born in Green River, Wyoming, and moved to Cheyenne at age six. As a high school basketball player in the 1930s, he led the state in scoring. He enrolled at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, where he was a 5'9" (175 cm) starter on the basketball team and played varsity tennis, lettering three years in both sports for the Cowboys. He was also a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
After graduating in 1942 with a degree in business statistics, Gowdy aimed to become a fighter pilot, but a ruptured disk in his spine from a previous sports injury cut short his service in the Army Air Force, leading to a medical discharge in 1943.
In November of that year, recovering from back surgery, Gowdy made his broadcasting debut in Cheyenne calling a "six-man" high school football game from atop a wooden grocery crate in subzero weather, with about 15 people in attendance. He found he had a knack for broadcasting, and worked at the small KFBC radio station and at the Wyoming Eagle newspaper as a sportswriter (and later sports editor). After several years in Cheyenne, he accepted an offer from CBS's KOMA radio in Oklahoma City in 1946. He was hired primarily to broadcast Oklahoma college football (then coached by new-hire Bud Wilkinson) and Oklahoma State college basketball games (then coached by Hank Iba). In Oklahoma, he met his wife, Jerre Dawkins, a graduate student at OU.
Gowdy's distinctive play-by-play style during his subsequent broadcasts of minor league baseball, college football, and college basketball in Oklahoma City earned him a national audition and then an opportunity with the New York Yankees in 1949, working with (and learning from) the legendary Mel Allen for two seasons.
He was married to Geraldine (Jerre) Dawkins Gowdy. He had three children: Cheryl Ann Gowdy, Curtis Edward Gowdy Jr. (himself a successful producer for the likes of ABC and SNY), and Trevor Gowdy. His cousin Joey Paul Gowdy is an actor and producer in the entertainment business.
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 schedules, 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. Gowdy was also the narrator of several Red Sox highlight films during his tenure in Boston which described the season in depth along with its key moments; this would lead to him eventually narrating World Series highlight films during his time with NBC (1968–1974, '77).
Gowdy called Ted Williams' final at-bat where he hit a home run into the bullpen in right-center field off Jack Fisher of Baltimore. He also called Tony Conigliaro's home run in his first at-bat at Fenway Park on April 17, 1964 at the age of 19.
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 postseason playoffs and World Series in October.
Following a stint calling NBA games for NBC from 1955 to 1960, Gowdy moved to ABC, 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 full-time 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 from ABC to NBC, 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, including Tommy Hawkins and Billy Packer. 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 of 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.
He 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, NBC orchestrated a trade with CBS for Don Criqui; Gowdy was, in essence "traded" (Criqui and Gowdy switched networks) and called NFL games on CBS for two seasons with Hank Stram, and also did baseball on radio. He returned to ABC to call regional college football 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.
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. Two years later in Super Bowl V, Gowdy called the dramatic 16–13 Colts' win over Dallas. The next year in 1971, Gowdy's telecast on NBC caused many a Christmas dinner to be delayed as the country locked in that Christmas Day to the longest game in pro football history, when the Miami Dolphins defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27–24 in the final game at Kansas City's Municipal Stadium. 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.
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, nonpartisan, 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!"
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 to 1988 with Roone Arledge's sports department at ABC.
Gowdy was also close friends with Arledge, and acknowledged that he gives Arledge 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 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 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."
In the 1950s and '60s, 'Curt Gowdy did pre-recorded and live commercials for Red Sox sponsor Narragansett Beer. His voice speaking the famous line: "Hi Neighbor, have a 'Gansett" was known to Red Sox fans everywhere. In the 1980s, Gowdy voiced a series of beer commercials for Genesee. Essentially, these ads had an outdoor enthusiast theme, with Curt's tag line being "Genesee – the great outdoors in a glass."
Gowdy, who also did some sportswriting during his early broadcasting days, wrote two books: Cowboy at the Mike (1966), with Al Hirshberg, and Seasons to Remember: The Way It Was in American Sports, 1945–1960 (1993), with John Powers. He also wrote the foreword for the 2000 book The Golden Boy, authored by Dr. George I. Martin, in which Gowdy described the subject of the book, Jackie Jensen, as possibly the best athlete he had ever covered.
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. The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Gowdy as Massachusetts Sportscaster of the Year five times (1959–63) and National Sportscaster of the Year twice (1966, 1969), and inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1985, he was inducted into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame along with his onetime Yankees partner 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:
A new state park in Wyoming, opened in 1971, was officially named for Gowdy on March 27, 1972, one of numerous honors bestowed on the native son from the state of Wyoming on "Curt Gowdy Day." The 11,000 acre (44 km²) Curt Gowdy State Park is halfway between his high school hometown of Cheyenne and his college town of Laramie. Additional land was acquired by the state for the park in 2006. "It has two beautiful lakes, hiking trails, camping, boating, fishing, and beauty," said Gowdy. "It has everything I love. What greater honor can a man receive?"
Gowdy was proud of his Wyoming heritage and loved the outdoors, and said that he was "born with a fly-rod in one hand," and that the sports microphone came a little later. In 2002, he recalled that his father, Edward Curtis Gowdy, who had taught him to hunt and fish, was the best fly-fisherman in the state. "We had free access to prime-time fishing and hunting. The outdoors was a way of life for me. I should have paid them to host The American Sportsman."
On July 31, 2013, on the 94th anniversary of his birth, the state park opened an interpretive center with exhibits about the history of the park and Gowdy's work to preserve area natural resources. Milward Simpson, director of the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department, describes the 7,400-square foot building, which also includes meeting rooms and a lobby, as a monument to the "fantastic legacy" left by Gowdy.
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.
On October 12, 2006, the United States Postal Service building in Green River, Wyoming, was officially designated as the "Curt Gowdy Post Office Building," honoring the place of Gowdy's birth. The legislation required for the USPS name change was introduced by Wyoming House Representative Barbara Cubin.
Ray Scott and Vin Scully
| World Series network television play-by-play announcer (with Harry Caray in 1964 and Joe Garagiola in 1975)
| American television prime time anchor, Winter Olympic Games
| Super Bowl television play-by-play announcer (AFC package carrier)
| Lead play-by-play announcer, Major League Baseball on NBC
1966–1975 (alternated with Joe Garagiola from 1974 to 1975)
Robert Alfred Wolff (November 29, 1920 – July 15, 2017) was an American radio and television sportscaster.
He began his professional career in 1939 on CBS in Durham, North Carolina while attending Duke University. He was the radio and TV voice of the Washington Senators from 1947 to 1960, continuing with the team when they relocated and became the Minnesota Twins in 1961. In 1962, he joined NBC-TV.
In his later years, Wolff was seen and heard on News 12 Long Island, on MSG Network programming and doing sports interviews on the Steiner Sports' Memories of the Game show on the YES Network.Curt Gowdy Media Award
The Curt Gowdy Media Award is an annual award given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters. It is named for American sportscaster Curt Gowdy, who was the Hall of Fame's president for seven years.Curt Gowdy State Park
Curt Gowdy State Park is a public recreation area in the western United States, located in Wyoming on state highway 210. It is halfway between Cheyenne and Laramie, about 25 miles (40 km) from each, in Albany and Laramie counties.
The state park covers 3,395 acres (5.3 sq mi; 13.7 km2) and is known for its extensive trail system, fishing reservoirs, and Hynds Lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park is managed by the Wyoming Division of State Parks and Historic Sites.David Aldridge
David Aldridge (born February 10, 1965 in Washington, D.C.) is a writer for The Athletic. He was previously a reporter for Turner Sports, contributing to their NBA and MLB coverage. Other outlets that Aldridge has written and contributed for include ESPN, NBA TV, NBA.com, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and TBD. In 2016, he was awarded the Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Basketball Hall of Fame.Doris Burke
Doris Burke (born November 4, 1965) is a TV analyst for NBA on ESPN and NBA on ABC games. She formerly worked as an analyst for WNBA games on MSG, and has worked on New York Knicks games. Burke was the first female commentator to call a New York Knicks game on radio and television. She played college basketball for the Providence Friars, finishing her career as the school's leader in assists. Honored for her pioneering work she was selected to enter Basketball Hall of Fame as the 2018 Curt Gowdy Media Award winner.Eddie Doucette
Eddie Doucette is a former television and radio sportscaster and currently the president of Doucette Promotions Inc.
Doucette was the original radio play-by-play voice of the Milwaukee Bucks, where he broadcast games for 16 years. During his career he also called games for various other NBA teams (including the Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers), for Major League Baseball teams (including the San Diego Padres, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers), and for the WFL's Chicago Fire; and he has done various other sports including NFL football, college football, college basketball, PGA Tour golf, boxing, bowling and track and field events.Along with Jon McGlocklin, Doucette co-founded the MACC Fund in 1976 after his two-year-old son, Brett, was diagnosed with cancer. Today, he serves as the fund's honorary vice-president.He is a graduate of Michigan State University. He resides in Poway, California with his wife Karen. They have two grown sons: Brett and Cory.Eddie is known for coining the term "skyhook" when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shot the ball on May 10, 1974 at Boston Garden in Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Bucks and Celtics.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced that Doucette will receive the Curt Gowdy Media Award in the Electronic Media category during the 2013 Hall of Fame induction ceremony in September. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2011.KCGY
KCGY (95.1 FM) is a radio station broadcasting a Country music format. Licensed to Laramie, Wyoming, United States, the station serves the Cheyenne/Laramie area. The station is currently owned by Townsquare Media and features programming from ABC Radio and Westwood One.KCGY FM was originally put on the air by Curt Gowdy, a Wyoming native who gained fame as a sportscaster for major TV networks.List of AFL All-Star Game broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers that broadcast the American Football League All-Star Game during its existence. (After 1969, the AFL merged with the National Football League.)List of AFL Championship Game broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers that broadcast the American Football League Championship Game during its existence. After 1969, the AFL merged with the National Football League. Thereafter, the American Football Conference Championship Game replaced the AFL Championship Game.List of American League Championship Series broadcasters
The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast American League Championship Series games over the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game broadcasters
The following is a list of the American radio and television networks and announcers that have broadcast the Major League Baseball All-Star Game over the years.List of NFL on NBC commentator pairings
The first name that's slated is the play-by-play man while the color commentator or commentators are slated second and sideline reporters, if used, are slated last.List of Orange Bowl broadcasters
Television network, play-by-play and color commentator for the Orange Bowl from 1953 to the present.List of Rose Bowl broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast college football's Rose Bowl throughout the years.List of Super Bowl broadcasters
The following is a list of Super Bowl broadcasters, that is, all of the national American television and radio networks and sports announcers that have broadcast the first four AFL-NFL World Championship Games and thereafter the championship games of the National Football League. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.
Originally alternated between the AFL's broadcaster (then NBC) and the NFL's broadcaster (then CBS), the game is now alternated between the three main broadcast television rightsholders of the NFL—CBS, Fox and NBC. CBS has televised the most Super Bowl games, with Super Bowl LIII as its 20th.
NBC originally had broadcasting rights for the Super Bowl XXVI and CBS for the XXVII, but the NFL allowed the networks to switch the two games in order to allow CBS a significant lead-in to its coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics. Likewise, NBC was to air the Super Bowl LV and CBS for the LVI, but they agreed to swap the broadcasting rights, therefore CBS will benefit from holding rights to the Super Bowl and the 2021 NCAA Final Four, whereas NBC will be abled to pair its Super Bowl coverage with the 2022 Winter Olympics.Major League Baseball on NBC
Major League Baseball on NBC is the de facto branding for weekly broadcasts of Major League Baseball (MLB) games produced by NBC Sports, and televised on the NBC television network. Major League Baseball games first aired on the network from 1947 to 1989, when CBS acquired the broadcast television rights; games returned to the network in 1994 with coverage lasting until 2000. There have been several variations of the program dating back to the 1940s, including The NBC Game of the Week and Baseball Night in America.The American Sportsman
The American Sportsman was an American television series from 1965 to 1986 on ABC which presented filmed highlights involving the program's hosts and celebrities participating in hunting and/or fishing trips along with outdoor recreational activities such as whitewater kayaking, hang gliding and free climbing. It was typically presented on Sunday afternoons, frequently following coverage of live sporting events. From 1965 to 1967, the program was hosted by former South Dakota Republican Governor, American Football League commissioner, and World War II hero Joe Foss; it was later hosted by Grits Gresham, an outdoorsman from Natchitoches, Louisiana, and long-time sports announcer Curt Gowdy.
Some of the celebrities shown included Bing Crosby, Andy Griffith, General Jimmy Doolittle, Burt Reynolds, Larry Hagman, Phil Harris, Caitlyn Jenner (as Bruce Jenner), Bert Jones, Redd Foxx, William Shatner, and Shelley Hack. Regarding the famous people who appeared on the show, Gowdy noted, “They were all wonderful sportsmen, and for many of them it was a chance for them to get away from Hollywood, the movies, entertainment, politics or sports. For me, the American Sportsman series was some of the best times in my life.”The show has its roots in a 20-minute segment depicting Curt Gowdy and Joe Brooks fly fishing in the Andes Mountains in Argentina in 1964. The segment appeared on Wide World of Sports and immediately was spun off into its own series airing at 3 PM EST on Sundays January through March on ABC. The show's first episode was on January 31, 1965.Episodes have been rebroadcast on ESPN Classic in recent years. A revival of the show titled The New American Sportsman ran from 2002-2006 on ESPN2, hosted by Rick Schroder (season one), Deion Sanders (season two) and Tom Ackerman (seasons three and four). Several members of the production team of the classic series (including executive producer Bud Morgan and head writer Pat Smith) were involved with the revival. Celebrities appearing included Morgan Freeman, Robert Duvall, Ethan Hawke, Bo Jackson, Jack Nicklaus, Kevin Costner and William Shatner (the latter of whom also appeared on the original show several times).
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