ted leitner-san diego padres

In sad news out of San Diego, Padres radio voice Ted Leitner announced this week that he has cancer and will be stepping away from the broadcast booth indefinitely.

Leitner, 71, has called Padres games since 1980 and says he has not missed a road trip during that time. He told reporters Wednesday that he will undergo surgery Thursday to remove his kidney and hopes to be back in the booth by the end of the season. Via ESPN:

“I’d love to be back for the next homestand,” he told reporters. “I don’t do well being away from the booth and the Padres, so let’s make this as short as possible.”

Leitner will undergo surgery to remove the kidney on Thursday and said he is hopeful he’ll be able to return to the booth later this season. He said his doctors have told him the cancer hasn’t spread.

“From everything I’ve been told, the outlook is positive,” Leitner said. “My other kidney is apparently healthy. My attitude is let’s get this done and return to what I love doing as soon as possible.”

Wednesday marked Leitner’s final broadcast before the surgery. As he signed off following the Padres’ walk-off win over the Marlins, he thanked listeners for reaching out and supporting him after he announced his illness.

“I appreciate so much all your gestures,” he said. “I will try to be back here for this broadcast for this team that I love and this city that I love and these fans, people that I love as soon as humanly possible.”


In a statement Padres executives Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler said they “wish our dear friend Ted Leitner a speedy recovery from surgery.”

“While we’ll miss hearing his voice in the booth over the next few weeks, we know he’ll be back healthy and stronger than ever. Our thoughts and prayers are with him during this time,” they said.

The Padres’ official Twitter account on Wednesday posted a video of fans holding a sign that read, “San Diego ‘s our Uncle Ted,” and wished Leitner a speedy recovery.

Tony Gwynn Jr. will fill in for Leitner while the veteran play-by-play man recovers from surgery.

We wish Leitner all the best and hope to see him back in the booth before long.


About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.