Legendary American sportscaster
, primarily known as the radio voice for baseball
's St. Louis Cardinals
. Born 21 August 1924 in Holyoke, MA
; died 18 June 2002
, St. Louis, MO
Jack Buck was one of the last holdovers of a great generation of U.S. sports broadcasters (along with surviving L.A. Lakers play-by-play man Chick Hearn), surviving such notables as Harry Caray (with whom he started his career) and Mel Allen. Buck called Cardinals games on KMOX radio from 1954-2000 (only missing the 1960 season on contract to ABC), and could be heard from Virginia to Colorado and Louisiana to Minnesota at night via that station's clear channel license to AM 1120. Midwestern baseball fans grew up to his gravelly voice calling "That's a winner" after each Cards victory.
Buck's career was not limited to St. Louis radio; he telecast the first game of the American Football League and the Ice Bowl, then called Monday Night Football and 17 Super Bowls on CBS radio. Along the way, he sidelighted for CBS, NBC and ABC calling several different sports on television. In personal life, his son Joe Buck himself became a broadcaster, and joined his father in the Cards box in 1991.
Perhaps three calls have come to symbolize Buck.
- Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS: Ozzie Smith hit a left-handed home run, his first ever from that side of the plate, to win the game and put the Cards up 3-2 over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the series (they won in 6, taking them to the World Series).
"Go crazy, folks, go crazy!"
- His most nationally well-known call has been replayed countless times along with the accompanying TV clip (in preference over Vin Scully's NBC call, itself great): 1988 World Series Game 1, bottom of the 9th, Dodgers OF Kirk Gibson limps to the plate to pinch hit with a man on second and the team down 4-3 to the Oakland Athletics. Gibson was completely unable to run out any sort of hit, so he had to hit a home run or the night was over for L.A.
"And the pitch for Gibson coming here from Eckersley. Gibson -- swings, and a fly ball to
deep right field -- THIS IS GOING TO BE A HOME RUN! UNBELIEVABLE! A home run for Gibson, and the Dodgers have won the game, 5-4, I don't believe what I just saw! I don't BELIEVE what I just saw!"
- His subdued call of Mark McGwire's 62nd home run in 1998, breaking Roger Maris's record: "Pardon me while I stand and applaud."
Jack Buck's voice symbolized baseball for two generations of Midwesterners. A statue of him behind a microphone
was erected at Busch Stadium
in 1998, and a flag
bearing his catch phrase "That's a winner" was raised for him the day after his death, in the area past Busch's center field
wall where retired numbers are honored.
http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/students/friedmad/announce/Buck.htm, and etouffee for a correction on the 1985 NLCS