Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Top All Time Greatest PA Announcers - Add Yours in The Comment Section

Bob Sheppard-NY Yankees-Robert Leo "Bob" Sheppard (October 20, 1910 – July 11, 2010) was the long-time public address announcer for numerous New York area college and professional sports teams, in particular the MLB New York Yankees (1951–2007), and the NFL New York Giants (1956–2006).  

Sheppard announced more than 4,500 Yankees baseball games over a period of 56 years, including 22 pennant-winning seasons and 13 World Series championships; he called 121 consecutive postseason contests, 62 games in 22 World Series, and six no-hitters, including three perfect games. He was also the in-house voice for a half-century of Giants football games, encompassing 9 conference championships, 3 NFL championships (1956, 1986, 1990), and the game often called "the greatest ever played", the classic 1958 championship loss to Baltimore.

John Condon-MSG-Mr. Condon, who was as much a part of the history of New York professional basketball as any player or coach, had a trademark greeting: ''Good evening, everybody. Welcome to Madison Square Garden.'' Those words echoed through two Gardens for more than four decades before Mr. Condon's announcements of the starting lineups at Knick and college basketball games. Started Job in 1947 Mr. Condon began sitting in the announcer's seat in 1947, 21 years before the Garden moved from 50th Street and Eighth Avenue to its present site and one year after the Knicks were created. While attending a game between the Knicks and the Boston Celtics, he was asked to try out for the public-address job. He never left the scorer's table after that.

Claude Mouton-Canadiens-Claude Mouton OC ( 20  September  1931 in Montreal , Quebec - 30  March  1993 ) is a public address announcer of ice hockey in the NHL, certainly considered one of the most popular bilingual commentators to have have worked for the NHL.
In his first season with the Montreal Canadiens in 1968 , he was noted for his statement style and warm voice. He became the first announcer in history to work more than eight consecutive seasons for the same venue . He was the director of public relations for the Montreal Canadiens from 1973 to 1993.
Mouton was also the pa announcer for the Montreal Expos from 1969 to 1973, when the team played in Jarry Park , his pronounciation of player "John Boccabella," is famous in Montreal baseball lore.

Howard Finkel-WWE-Finkel, a native of Newark, New Jersey, is the WWE's first employee after having been hired in 1975 by Vince McMahon, Sr. for what was then known as the WWWF. Finkel debuted as a ring announcer at Madison Square Garden on January 17, 1977. By 1979, he had become the organization's lead ring announcer for the their biggest events. Throughout his career, Finkel's distinctive voice was sometimes used in the title sequence for the company's
various television programs. Finkel's signature call was his announcement of a new champion following a title change, in which he would place extra emphasis on the word "new", in order to draw the greatest reaction from the crowd. Finkel came up with the event name "WrestleMania", as well as Ricky Steamboat's "Dragon" nickname. In 1984, Finkel became WWF's lead ring anouncer for TV tapings, replacing the retired Joe McHugh.

Chip Monck-Woodstock 1969-Chip Monck (born Edward Herbert Beresford Monck) is a Tony Award nominated lighting designer, most famously serving as the Master of Ceremonies at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
In 1969 he did the concert that would define his career and make him a public figure.
Monck was hired to plan and build the staging and lighting, ten weeks of work for which he was paid $7,000. Much of his plan had to be scrapped when the promoters
were not allowed to use original location in Wallkill, New York. The stage roof that was constructed in the shorter time available was not able to support the lighting that had been rented, which wound up sitting unused underneath the stage. The only light on the stage was from spotlights. He was drafted just before the concert started as the master of ceremonies when Michael Lang noticed that they had forgotten to hire one. He can be heard (and seen) in recordings of Woodstock making the stage announcements, including requests to "stay off the towers" and the warning about the "brown acid".
The warning that I’ve received, you might take it with however many grains of salt you wish, that the brown acid that is circulating around is not specifically too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. But it’s your own trip, be my guest. But please be advised that there’s a warning, okay?  "

Jack E. Lee-Roosevelt Raceway-Jack E. Lee (May 29, 1936 - July 30, 2009) was a track announcer who called several major harness races at the now-defunct Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island (Westbury, NY) in the 1970s and 1980s, and is considered by many to be the "Golden Voice" of that era in harness racing. In addition to his stint as the track announcer at Roosevelt Raceway (1968–1985) and Freehold Raceway (1966, 1990–1998), Lee also called quarter horse races at Suffolk (Parr) Meadows on Long Island from 1986-1987. In addition to Roosevelt, Lee occasionally substituted for Bob Meyer at Yonkers Raceway.   

Known for having a mellow voice and a descriptive style of announcing, Lee was considered by many to be the top racecaller in all of harness racing during the 1970s and 1980s. His calls were heard nationwide on the superstation WOR-TV, where he co-hosted the show "Racing from Roosevelt" with Stan Bergstein and Spencer Ross. Aside from announcing at Roosevelt and Freehold, Lee was the PA announcer for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium and for a time in the 1970s, was the ring announcer for the World Wide Wrestling Federation at Madison Square Garden.
Jack E. Lee died on July 30, 2009. Lee was retired, living in Florida.

Tom Durkin-Belmont Racetrack-Tom Durkin (born November 30, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American sportscaster and public address announcer specializing in Thoroughbred horse racing. He was the race caller for NBC Sports from 1984 through 2010.
Durkin studied drama at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. In 1971, he was hired as a race caller at Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred races at county fairs in Wisconsin. He did this each summer through 1975, then the following year was employed by the Daily Racing Form as a call taker responsible for documenting the comments and statistics used in the official charts of the races at Cahokia Downs and Thistledown Racecourse.
He went on to work as a race caller at Florida Downs in Oldsmar, Florida, Miles Park Race Track in Louisville, Kentucky, Quad City Downs in East Moline, Illinois, Balmoral Park Racetrack in Crete, Illinois, Hialeah Park Race Track in Hialeah, Florida, Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, and in 1990 was hired to call races at the New York Racing Association's Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. Durkin served as the Breeders Cup's chief TV voice from its inception through 2005 and was a longtime broadcaster on NBC as part of the network's sportscasting crew for horse races, providing analysis, commentary and features in addition to the descriptions of races.
On April 26, 2011, Durkin announced his decision to not to renew his contract with NBC Sports, citing stress.


Roger Jackson said...

John Ramsey (1927-1990), known as the "voice of L.A. Sports" for over a quarter of a century, was the public-address man for nearly every major team in Southern California.

At one time or another, Ramsey's deep, clear voice was heard by fans of USC football and basketball, the Rams, Raiders, Lakers, Dodgers, Angels and Kings. He would often announce five games over a three-day weekend.

He was also the P.A. announcer for five Super Bowls and for the basketball venue here at the 1984 Olympic Games.

His announcing style was articulate, unruffled and deliberate.

He got his biggest break in 1958 when Tex Rickard, the Dodgers' public-address announcer in Brooklyn, declined to move to Los Angeles.

Ramsey appeared, or his voice was heard, in several motion pictures, most notably "Two Minute Warning."

Unknown said...

100% agree that Bob Shepherd and John Condon were the best PA Announcers of all time. Condon never got the recognition he deserved. I can still remember him saying, "that was Wilt Chamberlain" after the dipper scored a bucket. One of the huge attractions of going to MSG for a NY Knicks or college basketball game (Holiday Festival tournament or NIT) in the 1960s was hearing John Condon announce the game.

IMHO, the 3rd best PA announcer of all time was Dave Zinkoff of the Philadelphia 76ers. Occasionally, New Yorker's like me drove to Philly to go to 76ers games (especially against the Celtics). I remember attending a 76ers-Celtics game in the winter/spring of 1965 when Celtics KC Jones made a reverse layup that Chamberlain tried, but couldn't block. Zinkoff acknowledged Jones bucket and said, "great try Wilt, get 'em next time."

Derek Delgado said...

One of the best MLB announcers out there is the Houston Astros PA Announcer Bob Ford. This man has one of the best deepest and energetic voice on the planet.
One other good announcer which is my favorite ring announcer is former WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts.

Sean Valley said...

Ya'll are showin' some east coast bias ;)
For my money, the best PA Announcer in the business is the Voice of The (Washington State) Cougars, Glenn Johnson. Yes, I have my own bias, since not only am I a Coug, but Glenn was my advisor in college.
His velvet tones are complimented by his signature, crowd supported, call of "It's another... Cougar First Down!"

MitchC said...

I like Mike Walcheski, the Madison Square Garden PA announcer who has been at the Garden since 1989.

He has trademark calls.

During the prime of Patrick Ewing's career with the Knicks, you always knew when Ewing scored, as Walcheski would yell. Pat-rick E--Ewing.

It's amazing to think that MSG has had only two PA announcers since 1947. First the late John Condon from 1947 to 1989 and then after that Mr Walcheski.

Stu Shea said...

Paul Morris. Claude Mouton. Phil Georgeff. Clem McCarthy. Bob Sheppard. Pat Pieper.
Good post! Thanks.

Unknown said...

Zinkhoff is number one
That is the quota for Havlicek
That was a Howell foul

theswampman said...

I can still hear the grat John F.X. Condon: "Score the goal...score the the goal to Walt Frazier...that was GOOOOOOOOOAL-tending!!" :)

Taub Sports said...

Who is this PA announcer for one of the first televised Nassau Coliseum cards in 1984? I would expect Finkel, but it is this guy. Seems like a local? Perhaps the Islanders PA guy or something.

Daniel Murphy Sr. said...

The Zink, Dave Zinkoff was number 1. He was beloved by fans and players alike.

kevin said...

Add Harvey Wittenberg for the Blackhawks at the old Chicago Stadium to that list along with Milt Ellis for the Sabres at the Aud

Unknown said...

Claude Mouton was not the first PA announcer to work 8 or more years for the same venue. Harvey Wittenberg was the Black Hawk PA announcer for 40 plus years beginning before 1960.

Unknown said...

Lawrence Tanter (Los Angeles Lakers) and Roy Steele (Oakland A's) are the two best P.A. announcers ever. Honorable mention to current A's P.A. announcer Dick Callahan.