RIP, Joe Garagiola
March 24, 2016 12:02 AM   Subscribe

Baseball may indeed be a funny game, but it just got a little less so. The major league catcher turned longtime NBC broadcaster passed away yesterday at the age of 90.
posted by non canadian guy (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Oh man! When I was living in Phoenix, the local unaffiliated television station had some ridiculous contract for broadcasting Diamondbacks games. I don't even think there were any blackout dates. I got REALLY into baseball that season and watched something like 120 of the ~160 games of the season. Garagiola was a major part of that experience with his humor and color commentary.

I hadn't even thought about his name for years, but this post has run a bell in my brain. He was great!

posted by hippybear at 12:32 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

I remember him from Saturday's Game of the Week, from being the most likeable when NBC threw five co-hosts onto The Today Show, from being one of the umpteen hosts of the perennial panel/game show "To Tell the Truth"... for a baseball catcher, he was damned easy to 'catch' on TV...

posted by oneswellfoop at 12:53 AM on March 24, 2016

posted by Joey Michaels at 1:30 AM on March 24, 2016


Here's a (miserable quality) YouTube of Joe Garagiola guest hosting the Tonight Show in 1968 interviewing John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
posted by fairmettle at 2:05 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Oof, but that John/Paul interview is awkward. And I know Johnny wasn't a big fan of the rock and/or roll, but... seriously? You've got half the fucking Beatles coming on your show and you decide to take the night off?!!
posted by non canadian guy at 3:32 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by Cash4Lead at 3:41 AM on March 24, 2016

Speaking of YouTube clips, here's a few classic play-play-play calls from Mr. Garagiola:

Carl Yastrzemski making a diving grab to (temporarily) preserve Billy Rohr's no-hitter vs. the Yankees in 1967.

Bernie Carbo's three-run blast in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

Dwight Evans' RF catch from the same game. (Garagiola did not get to call Carlton Fisk's immortal walkoff blast in that game, since then-Bosox announcer Dick Stockton had taken over the play-by-play by that point.)

A five-minute battle between Bob Welch and Reggie Jackson in Game 2 of the 1978 Series.

Dave Parker firing a cannon at home plate to get an out in the 1979 All-Star Game.

Tug McGraw ending the 1980 Fall Classic with a flourish. Would that more TV sports announcers knew the wisdom of shutting up and letting the moment speak for itself, like Joe G. does here.

And, just for the hell of it, Garagiola and Ted Williams being interviewed by David Letterman in 1993. Part 1, Part 2
posted by non canadian guy at 4:00 AM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


At the rate we're losing celebrities, we're going to need a subsite soon:
posted by notyou at 5:07 AM on March 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

I remember Garagiola well from his earlier tenure on the Today show. There was once something going on in the Catholic Church that had him upset--it may have been Vatican II; I can't quite recall--and write before cutting for a commercial Garagiola angrily said something like "I'm not gonna let some synod of bishops tell me what to do!"

When the show returned from the break, Garagiola had to explain that he had not called the leaders of the church "sons of bitches."
posted by layceepee at 5:40 AM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by evilDoug at 5:53 AM on March 24, 2016

posted by eriko at 6:11 AM on March 24, 2016

posted by allthinky at 6:16 AM on March 24, 2016

posted by ezust at 6:18 AM on March 24, 2016

He often did 15 minutes of baseball trivia/rules before games. He taught me everything I know about the game.

posted by beaning at 6:30 AM on March 24, 2016

awww, I remember him from The Today Show, he always seemed like a nice guy.

posted by maggiemaggie at 7:06 AM on March 24, 2016

But 90 is a good run.
posted by maggiemaggie at 7:09 AM on March 24, 2016

> "How I first learned the name "Joe Garagiola" as a kid."

Me, too! Which is why for years I got him confused with Joe Shlabotnik.

posted by kyrademon at 7:15 AM on March 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

posted by Splunge at 7:33 AM on March 24, 2016

posted by Ber at 10:34 AM on March 24, 2016

posted by tommasz at 11:04 AM on March 24, 2016

Just yesterday, I caught an episode on Buzzr of a long-forgotten game show Garagiola hosted, He Said, She Said.
posted by delfin at 12:44 PM on March 24, 2016

That 1980 closing is the ONLY time the announcers shut their yaps in that series. NBC went with all ex-jocks: Garagiola, Kubek and Seaver, plus ex-umpire Ron Luciano. It was horrible. Every couple minutes, Garagiola would be shilling for some NBC show with Kubek describing every other routine fielding play as "GREAT!"

I will never forget Garagiola's lame-ass sign-off after Game 6 (after the locker room celebration, etc.). The Phils had just won the first championship in their 97-year history. The Vet went absolutely insane, 2 million people would fill the streets for a parade the next day. And Joe says: "Well, that's the beauty of the World Series. Everybody is a winner, and everybody is a loser."

Loser? WTF? To be fair, the New York media absolutely hated the Phillies that year. But for crissakes, give a championship team some credit.
posted by sixpack at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2016

It's just so easy to conjure up his voice in my head.

posted by rokusan at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2016

posted by Spatch at 3:42 PM on March 24, 2016

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescat in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:52 PM on March 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

it's like deja vu all over again
posted by bukvich at 6:11 AM on March 25, 2016

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