Merle Harmon

Merle Reid Harmon (June 21, 1926 – April 15, 2009[1]) was an American sportscaster who was the play-by-play voice for five Major League Baseball teams, two teams in the American Football League and the World Football League's nationally syndicated telecaster. Harmon also owned a chain of sporting good clothing stores. On July 1, 1987, at 3:00pm EST. Merle Harmon was the first voice heard on WFAN Sports Radio 1050 in New York. His recorded call of the New York Jets winning Super Bowl III was played prior to Suzyn Waldman’s first live update.

Early life and career

Born and raised in Salem, Illinois, Harmon served with the United States Navy in the Pacific during World War II. After the conflict ended, he attended Graceland College on the G.I. Bill, earning an Associate of Arts degree in 1947.[2] He graduated from the University of Denver with a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio & television broadcasting and marketing in 1949.[3] He began his broadcasting career later that same year with the Topeka Owls, a minor league baseball team in the Kansas–Oklahoma–Missouri League.

Broadcasting career

1950s

For two years beginning in 1953, Harmon broadcast University of Kansas football and basketball games as the first-ever voice of the KU Radio Network.[4] In 1954, he called baseball for the Kansas City Blues of the American Association, moving to the major league Kansas City Athletics the following year after that franchise's relocation from Philadelphia. He replaced By Saam, who returned to being the Phillies' main voice. Harmon first did Athletics play-by-play on KMBC-AM with Larry Ray (1955–56)[5][6] and Ed Edwards (1957–58),[7][8] then later on WDAF radio and television with Bill Grigsby (1959–61).[9][10][11]

He was fired after the 1961 season by Charlie Finley, who had purchased the ballclub the previous year, for refusing to participate in a campaign intended to spite the sports editor of the Kansas City Star.[12]

1960s

Harmon's first experience on national television came in 1961 when he was hired by ABC Sports to anchor various studio shows and call college football games. He, along with Chris Schenkel and Keith Jackson, were the play-by-play announcers for the network's baseball Game of the Week in 1965. His broadcast partner was Jackie Robinson.[12]

He became the primary broadcaster for the Milwaukee Braves in 1964, succeeding Earl Gillespie who resigned to become the sports director at WITI-TV. After two years working alongside Tom Collins (1964) and Blaine Walsh (1964–65) on WEMP-AM,[13][14] Harmon was not retained by the Braves, which moved to Atlanta and selected Milo Hamilton, a voice more recognized in the new market, instead.

Harmon joined Herb Carneal and Halsey Hall for Minnesota Twins broadcasts on WCCO-AM and WTCN-TV from 1967 to 1969.[12] He had replaced Ray Scott, who was designated the lead National Football League announcer on CBS.

Harmon also lent his talents to professional football, reteaming with Grigsby to call Kansas City Chiefs games in 1963, its first season after moving from Dallas. He became the voice of the New York Jets for the next nine years, first on WABC-AM (1964–70), then on WOR-AM (1971–72). His broadcast partners were Otto Graham (1964–65), Dick Young (1966–67) and Sam DeLuca (1968–1972). The highlight of Harmon's time with the Jets was the team's run to the Super Bowl Championship in 1968, which included the Heidi Game and victories over the Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Colts in the American Football League Championship Game and Super Bowl III respectively.[15]

1970s

In 1970, Harmon became lead announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers and continued in that role through the remainder of the decade, teaming with Bob Uecker. He also went into business during this period with Merle Harmon's Fan Fair, a chain of retail stores devoted to licensed sports merchandise. It grew to 140 stores nationwide before he sold the business in 1996.

Harmon was also the play-by-play voice for the World Football League's Thursday night Game of the Week telecasts on TVS in 1974, the circuit's only complete season. He was joined in the broadcast booth by regular game analyst Alex Hawkins and various guest commentators, who included George Plimpton, Burt Reynolds and McLean Stevenson.

1980s and beyond

From 1980–1982, Harmon worked for NBC Sports, calling regional NFL, MLB, and college basketball action and contributing to the weekly Sportsworld anthology series. He was also slated to work on the network's coverage of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, before the U.S. boycott of those Games. In 1988, Harmon returned to call several September NFL telecasts for NBC while the network's regular announcers were working that year's Summer Olympics in Seoul.

Prior to his retirement from broadcasting, Harmon worked on Texas Rangers telecasts, first on KXAS-TV (1982–1984), then on Home Sports Entertainment (HSE) (1984–1989). During his eight seasons with the Rangers, he worked alongside Steve Busby (1982–85), Mark Holtz (1984), Norm Hitzges (1986–89), Bob Carpenter (1986–88) and Greg Lucas (1989).[16]

Harmon called Southwest Conference college-football telecasts for the regional broadcaster Raycom Sports in the early 1980s, frequently paired with former Oklahoma head football coach Bud Wilkinson.[17] He called the 1985 and 1986 Liberty Bowl broadcasts for Raycom as well.

Harmon made a cinematic appearance, playing one of the two NCAA Finals announcers in the 2006 feature film Glory Road.[18]

Prior to his death, he was an active member of the National Speakers Association, and self-published his book, Stories, a collection of humorous adventures from his broadcasting career. He was a successful keynote speaker at numerous conferences and association meetings.

Harmon died of pneumonia at a hospital in Arlington, Texas on April 15, 2009.

References

  1. ^ Dan, By. "Remembering Merle Harmon – 620 WTMJ – Milwaukee's Source for Local News and Weather". 620 WTMJ. Archived from the original on April 19, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  2. ^ Meline, Randy. "Gracelander Merle Harmon Passes Away at Age 82; he was a Sports Broadcasting Legend" Graceland University, Thursday, April 16, 2009 Archived April 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Merle Harmon (1988 inductee) – Graceland University Athletics Hall of Fame. Archived December 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Lynn Electric and Communications Inc 785-843-5079 (April 17, 2009). ""Announcer Harmon used to call KU football, basketball," ''Lawrence'' (KS) ''Journal-World'', Friday, April 17, 2009". .ljworld.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  5. ^ "1955 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  6. ^ "1956 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  7. ^ "1957 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  8. ^ "1958 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  9. ^ "1959 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  10. ^ "1960 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  11. ^ "1961 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Smith, Curt. Voices of the Game. 2nd ed. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.
  13. ^ "1964 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  14. ^ "1965 Baseball Broadcasters & Networks – BaseballChronology". Baseballchronology.com. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  15. ^ "Benjamin, Scott. "Profile of Merle Harmon", Musicradio 77 WABC". Musicradio77.com. Retrieved January 3, 2012.
  16. ^ Andro, Anthony. "Broadcasting giant Merle Harmon, 82, dies," Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Thursday, April 16, 2009.
  17. ^ Raycom Sports company history Archived March 10, 2015, at Archive.today
  18. ^ Full cast and crew for Glory Road (2006) – The Internet Movie Database.

External links

1973 Milwaukee Brewers season

The 1973 Milwaukee Brewers season involved the Brewers' finishing fifth in the American League East with a record of 74 wins and 88 losses.

1976 Milwaukee Brewers season

The 1976 Milwaukee Brewers season involved the Brewers' finishing sixth in the American League East with 66 wins. It was the seventh consecutive losing season in Milwaukee and the eighth overall for the franchise since its inception.

1979 Milwaukee Brewers season

The 1979 Milwaukee Brewers season involved the Brewers' finishing second in the American League East with a record of 95 wins and 66 losses.

1979 Seattle Seahawks season

The 1979 Seattle Seahawks season was the team's fourth season in the National Football League. The Seahawks had a winning record for the second consecutive year, matching their 9–7 record from 1978.

Starting off the season with a 1–4 record, the Seahawks rallied to finish 9–7. Season highlights included a sweep of the Oakland Raiders for the second straight year, and winning both of their Monday Night Football contests in Atlanta and at home against the New York Jets, where Jim Zorn completed 13 passes in a row in 30 – 7 victory. The team also enjoyed their first victory over the Denver Broncos 28–23 on a 43-yard TD pass from Zorn to Largent in the final minutes.

Season lowlights included a 37–34 loss in Denver, after leading 34–10 midway through the 3rd quarter. The Los Angeles Rams shut out the Seattle Seahawks 24–0, holding the Seahawks to -7 yards total offense. The team lost twice to the Kansas City Chiefs, including a 37–21 defeat in week 14 that eliminated Seattle from playoff contention. The team also lost running back David Sims, who led the AFC in TDs in 1978, to a career-ending injury.

1979 was the team's last winning season until 1983 when new coach Chuck Knox led the Seahawks to their first playoff berth and Championship game appearance.

1986 Liberty Bowl

The 1986 Liberty Bowl featured the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Tennessee Volunteers.

Bob Coluccio

Robert Pasquali Coluccio (born October 2, 1951) is a former professional baseball player. He played all or part of five seasons in Major League Baseball, between 1973 and 1978, for the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals, primarily as an outfielder. Coluccio was nicknamed the "Macaroni Pony" by Milwaukee Brewers broadcasters Bob Uecker and Merle Harmon.

College Basketball on NBC

College Basketball on NBC is the branding used for broadcasts of NCAA Division I men's college basketball games formerly produced by NBC Sports, the sports division of the NBC television network in the United States. The network broadcast college basketball games in some shape or form between 1969 and 1998. From 1969 to 1981, NBC covered the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. It became the first major network to broadcast the championship game, at a cost of more than US$500,000 in 1969.

Kickoff Classic

The Kickoff Classic was a season-opening college football game played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey from 1983 to 2002.

List of Liberty Bowl broadcasters

The following is a list of the television networks and announcers who have broadcast college football's Liberty Bowl throughout the years.

List of Minnesota Twins broadcasters

The Minnesota Twins baseball team have had many broadcasters in their history in Minnesota. Here is a list of the people who have been a part of bringing the Twins to the people of Minnesota.

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 New York Jets broadcasters

The Jets' flagship radio station is WEPN, 1050 ESPN, with "The Voice of the Jets," Bob Wischusen as the play-by-play announcer and former Jet Marty Lyons as the color analyst. Wischusen, who joined WABC in 1997, took over the play-by-play role in 2002 after Howard David left the organization earlier in the year. Lyons would join Wischusen the same year after the team began a re-evaluation of the broadcasting booth that would result in the surprising firing of Dave Jennings, "a smart and credible analyst," after fourteen years in the booth.WABC, which served three separate stints as the Jets' radio flagship, simulcasted WEPN's coverage over its airwaves from 2002 until 2008. Jets radio broadcasts have also been carried over WCBS, which also served two stints as the Jets' flagship and last carried games over the air in 1992, and WFAN, which aired games from 1993 through 1999.Any preseason games not nationally televised are shown on WCBS-TV. Ian Eagle, who was previously the radio voice of the Jets, calls the action on those telecasts. SportsNet New York, which serves as the home of the Jets, airs over 250 hours of "exclusive, in depth" material on the team in high definition.Notable past play-by-play announcers for the Titans/Jets include the legends Howard Cosell, Bob Murphy, Merle Harmon, Marty Glickman and Howard David, who has called the Super Bowl and the NBA Finals for Westwood One and ESPN Radio.

List of Texas Rangers broadcasters

Texas Rangers games currently air on regional television network Fox Sports Southwest and on radio stations KRLD 105.3 FM and KRLD 1080 AM.

Games are aired in Spanish television station Canal de Teja. Games have aired on Spanish radio station KESS from 1991 to 2010, KZMP from 2011 to 2016, and KFLC since 2017.

Monte Moore

Monte Moore (born 1930) is a former radio and television broadcaster for the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland Athletics baseball teams.

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