Joe Garagiola Dies At 90
March 23, 2016 at 12:55 PM (PT)
JOE GARAGIOLA, the former major league catcher who became a popular broadcaster for several decades, died WEDNESDAY (3/23) after a long illness, the ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS have announced. He was 90.
The ST. LOUIS native played nine years in the majors with the ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, PITTSBURGH PIRATES, CHICAGO CUBS, and NEW YORK GIANTS before embarking on a broadcasting career at KMOX-A/ST. LOUIS, calling ST. LOUIS CARDINALS games. His self-deprecating wit and endless supply of anecdotes about his lifelong friend YOGI BERRA (included in three books) led to a long career in baseball broadcasting at NBC as well as other television and radio opportunities; He did radio work for NBC RADIO for many years, including sports features and hosting "MONITOR" in 1969-70. He was also on the team for NBC television's "TODAY SHOW" in 1967-73 and 1990-92, hosted and guested on several network game shows, and filled in for JOHNNY CARSON on "THE TONIGHT SHOW," including an appearance with JOHN LENNON and PAUL MCCARTNEY.
After his NBC baseball duties ended with the network's loss of national rights after the 1988 season, GARAGIOLA called CALIFORNIA ANGELS baseball on PRIME TICKET in 1990 and then did color on ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS games (his son JOE JR. served as GM of the D-BACKS at the time and is now an executive with MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL) in 1998-2012. He also gained fame from his commentary on USA NETWORK's coverage of the WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB DOG SHOW in 1994-2002, inspiring FRED WILLARD's dotty announcer character in CHRISTOPHER GUEST's mockumentary "BEST IN SHOW."
GARAGIOLA was honored with the BASEBALL HALL OF FAME's FORD C. FRICK Award honoring broadcasters in 1991 and the BUCK O'NEIL Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 for positive contributions to the game. In later years, he was a vigorous campaigner against the use of chewing tobacco.