Saturday, August 18, 2012

1997: The Voice of the Orioles, Silenced

The 1997 series that we had planned for this series never quite got off the ground. There are lot of reasons for our negligence, not the least of which is the fact that the 2012 Orioles have been exciting to watch for most of this season, something that few of us anticipated when we decided to write about "the last good year."
When we first decided to do the series, one of the first things I knew I wanted to write about was Rex Barney. Despite their winning ways in 1997, the Orioles were not without tragedy, including Eric Davis' cancer diagnosis and of course, the death of Mr. Barney on August 12, 1997.
His was truly the voice of Baltimore sports, as he broadcast for not only the Orioles from 1974-1997, but also the Baltimore Colts from 1959-1983. His voice was the sound of summer, familiar and simple. He didn't buy into gimmicks or, as some PA announcers tend to, make himself a part of the action. Other than his trademark sayings: "Thank youuuu" and "Give that fan a contract," (or every now and then, "Give that error!"), Rex Barney left the action to the game itself, he just provided the framework.

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