Nelson spent 17 years with the Mets and three years with the San Francisco Giants. For 33 years Nelson covered college football, including 26 Cotton Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, four Rose Bowls, and 14 years announcing syndicated Notre Dame games. He is in 13 separate Halls of Fame. Fans remember a talented broadcaster, an expert storyteller, and a true sports enthusiast. From his colorful jackets to his equally colorful broadcasts and enthusiastic manner of speaking, Nelson established himself as one of the industry's leading sportscasters.
Nelson (foreground) with Red Grange in 1955
|Born||May 25, 1919|
|Died||June 10, 1995 (aged 76)|
|Known for||Covering the New York Mets, Cotton Bowls, Sugar Bowls and announcing Notre Dame games|
Nelson was born on May 25, 1919, in Pulaski, Tennessee, the third child of Jon and Asie Nelson. He graduated from Columbia Central High School in Columbia. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1941, taught English, and then served in the U.S. Army, where he was a captain in North Africa and Europe during World War II. He also served as a war correspondent and public relations specialist, and played on an Army baseball team managed by Harry "The Hat" Walker.
Nelson broke into broadcasting in 1948 following a short career as a reporter in Columbia, Tennessee, for the Columbia Daily Herald newspaper, He was the first play-by-play announcer for the "Vol Network," which was set up to broadcast the UT Vols games.
Affectionately known as "Mr. New Year's Day," Nelson subsequently did the play-by-play of the Cotton Bowl Classic for 26 seasons on CBS television, where he earned widespread recognition for his Tennessee drawl and signature opening greeting: "Happy New Year; this is Lindsey Nelson in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas." He also called many Army–Navy Games for CBS, including the 1963 contest in which instant replay was first introduced. (After the initial replay, it fell to Nelson to reassure viewers that Army had not scored again.) For 14 years Nelson was the syndicated television voice of Notre Dame football, and he also called the Mutual Broadcasting System's Monday night radio broadcasts of NFL games from 1974 to 1977, in addition to NFL games for CBS television for many years.
Nelson began his national baseball broadcast career as one of Gordon McLendon's radio announcers for the Liberty Broadcasting System, which primarily did recreations of games. After a stretch as an administrator with NBC Sports, he began doing the network's baseball broadcasts in 1957. He also broadcast college football, NBA and college basketball, and professional golf and tennis during his NBC tenure.
In 1962, he was hired as the lead broadcaster by the expansion New York Mets, and for the next 17 seasons did both radio and television with Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy. Nelson and Murphy were eventually honored with the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually to an announcer for "major contributions to baseball" during a ceremony at the Baseball Hall of Fame. While with the Mets, Nelson made the first (and only) radio broadcast of a baseball game from directly above the field. On April 28, 1965, Nelson accompanied the team to the Houston Astrodome for their game against the Astros, and his producer noticed that there was a gondola suspended from the ceiling of a domed stadium; Nelson and a broadcast executive agreed to be hoisted in the gondola to a point 208 feet above second base, and called the play-by-play, though as he described it, "At first, I couldn't see anything except a lot of tiny figures. Everybody looked the same height... You couldn't tell a line drive from a pop fly." The Mets lost, 12-9, and Nelson declined to repeat the stunt. When Chicago White Sox pitcher and former Mets ace Tom Seaver went for his 300th victory in August 1985 against the host New York Yankees, the Yankees TV flagship station WPIX had Nelson call the final half-inning of Seaver's history-making win.
In 1979 Nelson moved on to the San Francisco Giants, for whom he worked three seasons. He also worked with CBS Radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball in 1985. He is remembered for being the announcer during the first NFL game on CBS to use "instant replay", which he had to explain repeatedly during the game, reminding viewers that "this is not live."
Nelson's honors and awards include induction into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1979; the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1984; the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1986; the Tuss McLaughry Service Award for sports broadcasting in 1988; the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988; the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990; and many more. He was awarded an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1991.
Television broadcasts featuring Nelson were notable for his multi-colored plaid sports jackets. He reportedly owned 335 of them at one time. During a broadcast, his jackets often clashed with the set and produced a scintillation effect in the broadcast image. But he figured that if fans could see rather than just hear broadcasts, he might as well give them something interesting to talk about.
After his retirement from active broadcasting, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, to an apartment across the Tennessee River from the University of Tennessee campus from which he had a view of Neyland Stadium, the Vols' home field. He wrote an autobiographical memoir entitled Hello Everybody, I'm Lindsey Nelson, his landmark opening phrase.
Nelson died of Parkinson's disease at age 76 on June 10, 1995, in Atlanta, Georgia. He is buried in Polk Memorial Gardens in Columbia. His wife, Mickie, died in 1973. They had two daughters, Nancy and Sharon.
| Lead play-by-play announcer, Major League Baseball on NBC
| Monday Night Football national radio play-by-play announcer
The 1995 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament was held as separate tournaments for the Eastern Division and the Western Division. The Eastern Division tournament was held at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville, TN. The Western Division tournament was held at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville, MS. Both tournaments were held from May 18th through May 21st. Tennessee won its third consecutive Eastern Division tournament and Alabama won the Western Division tournament. All games played in the tournament were added to the teams' 24-game regular season conference records.
As the tournament champion with the highest conference winning percentage, Tennessee was named SEC champion and awarded the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.2016 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team
The 2016 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team represent the University of Tennessee in the 2016 NCAA Division I baseball season. The Volunteers play their home games in Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The team is coached by Dave Serrano in his fifth season as head coach at Tennessee.2017 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team
The 2017 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2017 NCAA Division I baseball season. The Volunteers played their home games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The team was coached by Dave Serrano in his sixth season as head coach at Tennessee. Three games prior to the end of the season, Serrano announced that he will resign at its conclusion.2018 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team
The 2018 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2018 NCAA Division I baseball season. The Volunteers played their home games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The team was coached by Tony Vitello in his first season as head coach at Tennessee.2019 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team
The 2019 Tennessee Volunteers baseball team represented the University of Tennessee in the 2019 NCAA Division I baseball season. The Volunteers played their home games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.Lindsey Nelson Stadium
Lindsey Nelson Stadium is a baseball stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. It is the home field of the University of Tennessee Volunteers college baseball team. The stadium opened in 1993 and holds 4,283 people. The facility is named after Baseball Hall of Fame announcer Lindsey Nelson, who attended the university and founded the Vol Radio Network.Lindsey Nelson Stadium is also the name of a football stadium in Nelson's home town of Columbia. Completed in 1959, it is home field of Nelson's alma mater, Columbia Central High School. It was originally known as Maury County Stadium, and was renamed for Nelson following his death in 1995. It seats 5,000.
In 2013, the Volunteers ranked 38th in among Division I baseball programs in attendance, averaging 1,846 per home game.List of Army–Navy Game broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast the college football's Army–Navy Game throughout the years.List of Cotton Bowl Classic broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast college football's Cotton Bowl Classic throughout the years.List of Fiesta Bowl broadcasters
Television network, play-by-play and color commentator(s) for the Fiesta Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl began in 1971, but was considered a “minor bowl” until the January 1, 1982 game between Penn State–USC. Since then, the Fiesta Bowl has been considered a major bowl.
Starting with the 2010-11 season, ESPN started airing the games, out bidding Fox for the rights to the games.List of NBA Finals broadcasters
The following is a list of the television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast NBA Finals games over the years.List of NFL on CBS commentator pairings
CBS Sports began televising National Football League games in 1956. The network inherited the rights to games of most of the teams from the defunct DuMont Television Network; back then, each NFL team negotiated its own television deal. From 1956 to 1967, CBS assigned their commentating crews to one team each for the entire season. Beginning in 1968, CBS instituted a semi-merit system for their commentating crews. Following the 1993 season, there was no NFL on CBS after the network lost its half of the Sunday afternoon TV package (the National Football Conference) to the Fox Broadcasting Company. However, CBS gained the American Football Conference package from NBC beginning in 1998. The names of the play-by-play men are listed first while the color commentators are listed second; sideline reporters, when used, are listed last.List of New York Mets broadcasters
Television: SportsNet New York (SNY) or WPIX channel 11
Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Steve Gelbs
Radio: WCBS 880 AM (English)
Howie Rose, Wayne Randazzo, Ed Coleman, Brad Heller
Radio: WEPN 1050 AM (Spanish)
Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez, Nestor RosarioList 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 Sugar Bowl broadcasters
Television network, play-by-play and color commentator(s) for the Sugar Bowl from 1953 to the present.List of Sun Bowl broadcasters
The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast college football's Sun Bowl throughout the years.NBC College Football Game of the Week
The NBC College Football Game of the Week refers to nationally televised broadcasts of Saturday afternoon college football games that were produced by NBC Sports, the sports division of the NBC television network in the United States. Bowl games were always exempt from the NCAA's television regulations, and the games' organizers were free to sign rights deals with any network. In NBC's case, the 1952 Rose Bowl at the end of that particular season was the first national telecast of a college bowl game.Tennessee Volunteers baseball
The Tennessee Volunteers baseball team represents the University of Tennessee in NCAA Division I college baseball. Along with most other Tennessee athletic teams, the baseball team participates in the Eastern division of the Southeastern Conference. The Volunteers play all on-campus home games at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.The Greatest Baseball Game Never Played
The Greatest Baseball Game Never Played was a 1982 simulated broadcast of a hypothetical baseball game between all-time Major League Baseball greats. The broadcast was aired on 200 radio stations in the United States and Canada and also released as a record album.
The simulated game was announced by Jack Buck and Lindsey Nelson and set in Philadelphia's Shibe Park. Following the format of the All-Star Game, it featured National League players against players from the American League. The National League won 5-4.
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|AL Division Series|
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|AL Championship Series|
|NL Championship Series|
|AL Division Series|
|NL Division Series|
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
|Ford C. Frick Award|