Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Best (Sports) Announcers of All-Time?

Ken Fang recently posted his top five announcers for each sport (with some variations, like "Best Play By Play", "Best Analyst", "Best Local Team" and so on). The sports in question are baseball, boxing, college basketball, college football, NFL, NHL, and tennis.

What did I think? He's right...and nuts!

Ken's Baseball choices are:

Best Play-by-Play
1. Vin Scully - Los Angeles Dodgers/NBC Sports/CBS Radio
2. Ernie Harwell - Detroit Tigers/California Angels/CBS Radio
3. Curt Gowdy - Boston Red Sox/NBC Sports/CBS Radio
4. Jack Buck - St. Louis Cardinals/CBS Radio/CBS Sports
5. Jon Miller - Boston Red Sox/Baltimore Orioles/San Francisco Giants/ESPN/ESPN Radio

Um...no Red Barber, who taught Scully how to do it, and do it right? No Mel Allen? Sorry to Curt Gowdy and Jon Miller, but you both drop off, in favor of Barber (at my number two), and Allen (three). Oh and no Bob Costas?

Thankfully, he doesn't have Harry Caray here.

Best Analysts
1. Tony Kubek - NBC Sports/TSN/MSG Network
2. Don Drysdale - California Angels/ABC Sports
3. Jim Palmer - ABC Sports/MASN
4. Jerry Remy - NESN
5. Jim Kaat - CBS Sports/MSG Network/YES/MLB Network

I think Rem Dog is a stretch at three (Red Sox bias there), and I might put...GASP...Tim McCarver in. I'd go Kubek, Kaat, Drysdale, and then go from there.

Best Local TV/Radio Teams
1. Harry Kalas/Richie Ashburn/Andy Musser/Chris Wheeler - Philadelphia Phillies
2. Ned Martin/Jim Woods - Boston Red Sox
3. Skip Caray/Pete Van Wieren/Ernie Johnson, Sr./Don Sutton - Atlanta Braves
4. Ernie Harwell/Paul Carey - Detroit Tigers
5. Jon Miller/Fred Manfra - Baltimore Orioles
6. Sean McDonough/Jerry Remy - Boston Red Sox
7. Marty Brennaman/Joe Nuxhall - Cincinnati Reds
8. Chuck Thompson/Bill O'Donnell - Baltimore Orioles
9. Harry Caray/Steve Stone - Chicago Cubs
10. Dick Enberg/Don Drysdale - California Angels

I'm not going to get crazy here. I think to ignore the great local New York teams of the 60's and 70's is insane but OK. I'll take Frank Messer/Phil Rizzuto/Bill White at number one.

This could get long...OK, onto boxing.
1. Howard Cosell - ABC Sports
2. Jim Lampley - HBO Sports
3. Tim Ryan - CBS Sports
4. Marv Albert - NBC Sports
5. Bob Papa - HBO Sports/Versus/ESPN/NBC Sports

I think Ken is doing a disservice to Don Dunphy and Clem McCarthy but that's the historian in me. His five are pretty good. To college hoops!

Best Play-by-play
1. Dick Enberg - NBC Sports/CBS Sports
2. Brent Musberger - CBS Sports/ESPN
3. Curt Gowdy - NBC Sports
4. Jim Nantz - CBS Sports
5. Verne Lundquist - CBS Sports

No issue with Doctor Dick Enberg (he of the PhD) at number one. I'd drop Gowdy to five, put maybe Verne at two, Nantz at three, and Brent at four. A quick glance says no issue with these five otherwise.

Best Analyst
1. Billy Packer - Raycom/NBC Sports/CBS Sports
2. Al McGuire - NBC Sports/CBS Sports
3. Clark Kellogg - ESPN/CBS Sports
4. Quinn Buckner - CBS Sports/ESPN
5. Len Elmore - CBS Sports/ESPN

Again, no big argument with the five choices, I guess, though I would absolutely put some ONIONS in here, dropping someone in favor of Bill Raftery. And Al McGuire would be my number one - hands down.

I can't speak to Ken's choice of top local PBP guys, so I won't put them here, except that he left out the great team from Mount Saint Mary College. Goodness, but Adams and Baker (with Spang and Kaelin) made for some great radio. No, seriously!

Now college football:
Best Play-by-play
1. Keith Jackson - ABC Sports
2. Ron Franklin - ESPN
3. Brent Musburger - CBS Sports/ABC Sports/ESPN
4. Verne Lundquist - CBS Sports
5. Tom Hammond - NBC Sports

I'm not big on Brent. Heck, he only did one college game a year (the Rose Bowl) but I'd bring Dick Enberg to this list. Double heck, even Vin Scully did college football at one time. Oh well. I might push harder for the great Don Criqui though.

Best Analyst
1. Frank Broyles - ABC Sports
2. Pat Haden - CBS Sports/NBC Sports
3. Gary Danielson - ABC Sports/ESPN/CBS Sports
4. Dan Fouts - ESPN
5. Ara Parseghian - ABC Sports/CBS Sports

Again, hard to push for those who did one bowl game every year, so I won't.

Best Play-by-play
1. Marv Albert - NBC Sports/TNT
2. Dick Stockton - CBS Sports/TNT
3. Mike Gorman - Comcast SportsNet New England
4. Brent Musburger - CBS Sports
5. Mike Tirico - ESPN

No Mike Breen? I find Tirico to be boring. And Ken has serious Brent man-love. I'll take Marv at one, Breen at two, Marty Glickman at three, Chick Hearn fourth, and maybe Ian Eagle at five. Or Chris Schenkel.

Best Analyst
1. Doug Collins - NBC Sports/TNT
2. Hubie Brown - USA Network/CBS Sports/TNT/ESPN
3. Bill Walton - NBC Sports/ESPN
4. Charles Barkley - TNT/TBS
5. Kenny Smith - TNT/TBS

So be it. I always liked the "Czar" (Mike Fratello). I'm sure there are others that we can put here, and leave Collins and Hubie at the top.

Best play-by-play
1. Al Michaels - ABC Sports/NBC Sports
2. Dick Enberg - NBC Sports/CBS Sports
3. Pat Summerall - CBS Sports/Fox Sports
4. Charlie Jones - ABC Sports/NBC Sports
5. Don Criqui - NBC Sports/CBS Sports

I'd put Enberg on top. Then Summerall. Maybe bring in Curt Gowdy. Then Al Michaels and leave number five for a toss-up between Jones and the Criq-man.

Best Analyst
1. John Madden - CBS Sports/ABC Sports/NBC Sports
2. Hank Stram - CBS Sports/CBS Radio
3. Merlin Olsen - NBC Sports/CBS Sports
4. Dan Dierdorf - ABC Sports/CBS Sports
5. Phil Simms - ESPN/NBC Sports/CBS Sports

Ken asks "Seriously, could anyone be ranked over Madden?" To me, yes - Merlin Olsen. He's my number one. Madden can be second with Stram third. Never was a Dierdorf guy, so he's out. Simms can stay. After that, there are a host of fine analysts. John Brodie, Bob Trumpy, and other older-time announcers that aren't getting recognized.

Now, the NHL:

Best Play-by-play
1. Mike Emrick - ESPN/NBC Sports
2. Dan Kelly - CBS Sports/USA Network
3. Bob Cole - CBC
4. Chris Cuthbert - CBC/NBC Sports/TSN
5. Jiggs MacDonald - SportsChannel America

Doc! Yes! And Jiggsy! I'm in with this, although I might drop Cuthbert to six (sorry, Canada) and pop Gary Thorne in...and of course we're not giving Foster Hewitt has proper due.

Best Analyst
1. John Davidson - MSG Network/Fox Sports/ESPN/NBC Sports/Versus
2. Harry Neale - CBC
3. Ed Olcyzk - NBC Sports
4. Mickey Redmond - CBC/Fox Sports Detroit
5. Don Cherry - CBC

I probably do have an issue here, but I can't think of one. Although how Ken left both John Spang and Sean Kilkelly off (both of WGCH) is beyond me,

Ken also included the locals. He left Sam Rosen out (Rangers games on MSG) and that's an oversight to me.


Best Play-by-play
1. Dick Enberg - NBC Sports/CBS Sports/ESPN2
2. Jim Simpson - NBC Sports/ESPN
3. Tim Ryan - NBC Sports/CBS Sports
4. Cliff Drysdale - ESPN
5. Pat Summerall - CBS Sports

I don't have any qualms here. I think. Enberg is the best. Maybe a little respect for Ted Robinson?

Best Analyst
1. John McEnroe - USA Network/NBC Sports/CBS Sports/ESPN2/7 Network/BBC Sport
2. Mary Carillo - USA Network/CBS Sports/NBC Sports/ESPN2
3. Bud Collins - NBC Sports/ESPN2/Tennis Channel
4. Tracy Austin - USA Network/7 Network/BBC Sport
5. Tony Trabert - CBS Sports

Again, probably no issue, though I'm a big Bud Collins fan.

1. Bob Costas - NBC Sports/HBO Sports/MLB Network
2. Jim McKay - ABC Sports
3. Brent Musburger - CBS Sports/ABC Sports/ESPN
4. Ernie Johnson, Jr. - Turner Sports
5. James Brown - Fox Sports/CBS Sports
6. Howard Cosell - ABC Sports

This is where I thought Brent was at his best. Pat O'Brien was also quite good at this before he bolted for entertainment. To be fair, Bryant Gumbel was also a good host.

Fine work by Ken, because he opened things up for debate. Well done.


kzfone said...

Hi Rob,

Thanks for the kind words. I didn't put Red Barber or Mel Allen or Don Dunphy on my lists because I never had the opportunity to really listen to them (before my time), but your point on them is well taken.

I never heard Foster Hewitt or Danny Gallivan as again, either before my time or never had the opportunity to hear them.

But a list is done to generate debate and that's certainly what happened at my site.

Good analysis by you.

Rob Adams said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the reply. I'm a big fan and a loyal reader of your blog, and I talked about this on my radio show yesterday.

Hope we can have you on sometime!

Scott Linklater said...

He may not make anybody's list, but if Gus Johnson is calling a game, I like watching it - i don't care if it's murray st. vs. cornell in field hockey....gus johnson makes a game exciting

Rob Adams said...

Scott, thanks for the comments and I appreciate your thoughts, but I will mute the sound if I can when Gus is on. I just don't like the screaming.

Different styles, I guess.