The excitement of tomorrow’s opening day in Minnesota (Erik Bedard vs. Johan Santana on ESPN2 at 7:10) has been tempered somewhat with the news that longtime Twins radio broadcaster Herb Carneal passed away this morning of congestive heart failure. Carneal, who was honored with the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 1996, was 83.
Carneal called Major League Baseball games for five decades, beginning with the Philadelphia Athletics and Phillies in 1954. He worked for the Baltimore Orioles for five seasons, from 1957-61, before joining the Twins in the team’s second season in Minnesota. Although his duties had become limited in recent years – by 2006, he was working on the first three innings of afternoon home games – he was still, in the words of Twins president Dave St. Peter, “…one of the most beloved figures in Minnesota sports history.”
There is something to be said for a broadcaster that remains with a team for a long period of time, especially in a day and age when the players are more transitory than ever. Voices such as Carneal, Bob Uecker, Harry Kalas and Vin Scully, are comforting in their consistency. It’s nice to know that no matter who is on the field, those old familiar voices will be giving us the call.