Tim McCarver, a baseball lifer for his 21 seasons as an MLB player followed by his Hall of Fame broadcasting career, died Thursday morning at the age of 81.
As tributes poured in after news of McCarver’s passing broke, Bob Costas joined Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on MLB Network to remember the late MLB catcher and broadcasting legend. Costas was the play-by-play announcer during McCarver’s first-ever national broadcast in 1980 on NBC.
Bob Costas joins MLB Network to remember Tim McCarver pic.twitter.com/OjcZDDNIWY
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 16, 2023
“It was a Red Sox-Angels game in Anaheim,” Costas recalled. “We later did at least one, maybe two others during that 1980 season, I had just started at NBC and Tim actually went back to the Phillies at the end of the season and got into a handful of games.
“Shortly after that, he became not only a full-time broadcaster but a very good one,” Costas continued. “In the prime of his career, when he was doing Met games with Ralph Kiner primarily at his side and others, he was so good in those games, analytically, but also anecdotally. He was a terrific storyteller, he had tremendous insight into the game.”
McCarver’s MLB career as a catcher spanned from 1959 to 1980, playing with two World Series champion teams and earning two All-Star Game selections before embarking on an even more impressive career as an analyst. After beginning his career as a broadcaster locally on WPHL-TV in Philadelphia, McCarver ended up working for all major TV networks, with his longest tenure coming at Fox from 1996-2013.
McCarver called 23 World Series as a lead analyst and 20 All-Star Games during his career. After spending 18 years alongside Joe Buck at Fox, McCarver’s career as a national broadcaster came to an end in 2013, just as the social media era was starting to morph into the multi-headed monster it is today.
“Of course, in a social media era, everybody gets it,” Costas noted of broadcasters receiving criticism. “You can reincarnate Jim McKay or a 50-year-old Vin Scully and stick them on network television today and they’d still get it to a certain extent because that’s just the idiocy of it. But Tim McCarver was one of the best analysts because he was a good storyteller, he was also a very good audience. If his partner said something interesting or funny, Tim was right there and would respond to it.”
In addition to being analytical and anecdotical, the celebrated broadcaster was known for his ability to foreshadow things before they happened on the field, along with his willingness to be critical of players when warranted.
After his long tenure as a national broadcaster came to an end in 2013, McCarver continued to call a schedule of St. Louis Cardinals games on Fox Sports Midwest through 2019. McCarver skipped the 2020 and 2021 seasons because of COVID-19 concerns and officially retired last year. A three-time Emmy Award-winner, McCarver was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after winning the Ford C. Frick Award in 2012.