Tim McCarver, the All-Star catcher who made the Baseball Hall of Fame as an sometimes-controversial announcer and had a long-running syndicated interview program, died today of heart failure in Memphis. He was 81.
His death was announced by the Hall of Fame.
McCarver’s long baseball career spanned four decades from 1959-80, mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies, for which he caught for a pair of all-time greats in Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, respectively. He was a two-time All-Star and won a pair of World Series with the Cardinals in 1964 and 1967.
But he probably is best remembered for his long stint as a network color commenter, covering two dozens World Series for ABC, CBS and Fox and winning three Sports Emmys and more than a dozen other nominations.
After retiring from the field, McCarver began his booth career working Phillies games and later co-hosted Race for the Pennant for HBO. By 1980 he was a backup color commentator for NBC’s Game of the Week. An encyclopedic knowledge of the game fueled his career, and by the mid-’90s he was paired with Jack Buck on Fox’s No. 1 booth team. McCarver would stay with Fox until 2013, later teaming with his former partner’s son, Joe Buck.
The Baseball Hall of Fame awarded McCarver its Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence in 2012.
He sometimes courted controversy for his outspoken opinions about players including Manny Ramirez and Deion Sanders and later compared the New York Yankees’ treatment of their longtime ex-manager Joe Torre to notorious fascists regimes. He later apologized for that.
But McCarver remained a popular broadcaster, and beyond the booth he hosted The Tim McCarver Show, a syndicated sports interview program that aired from 2000-17. He hosted a 1993 episode of Sesame Street and played himself or an announcer in a number of TV series and films including Moneyball, Fever Pitch, BASEketball, Arli$$, The Scout, Mr. Baseball, Love Hurts and The Naked Gun.
Born October 16, 1941, in Memphis, McCarver also appeared in several documentaries and was a guest on numerous talk shows including David Letterman’s NBC and CBS late-nighters, The Pat Sajak Show and even an episode of The Ed Sullivan Show after the Cardinals won their 1964 title.
McCarver is survived by his high school sweetheart wife of 58 years, Anne, and their two daughters.
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