Marty Brennaman has been the lead voice of the Cincinnati Reds since 1974, but he announced today in a video released by the team that 2019 will be his last year in the booth.
A message from Marty Brennaman: pic.twitter.com/c66DFmyjQS
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 16, 2019
“To say that it’s been an incredible ride…that’s what it’s been. You folks have had a lot to do with it. You accepted me as one of your own many years ago, back in 1974. I feel like I’ve had a love affair that’s gone through four-and-a-half decades because you all have been so good to me. I felt like you need to know from the man himself, and that’s me, that nobody can love you as much as I do. I’m going to miss a lot of things, but you folks are going to be right there at the top of the list. Thank you very much.”
Brennaman’s impending retirement is the second one by an NL Central broadcaster his week, as Pirates stalwart Steve Blass also announced that 2019 will be his final year on the air. Brennaman has long been an institution in Cincinnati, as the Enquirer‘s John Fay notes, he’s been there ever since he took over for Al Michaels 46 years ago.
Brennaman has won the highest honors a baseball broadcaster can. He received the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. He was inducted in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2005. He has been named Ohio broadcaster of the year 17 times – most recently earlier this week.
Brennaman, 76, was hired as a 31-year-old in 1974. He was a polished announcer by then. He began his career in High Point, North Carolina, after graduating for the University of North Carolina in 1965. He did high schools sports, small colleges and anything else the station needed.
He moved up and on as the years went by, broadcasting Virginia Tech and William & Mary football and basketball and the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association.
He took over at radio voice of the Triple-A Tidewater Tides (now the Norfork Tides) in 1971. His work got the attention of Dick Wagner, then the general manager of the Reds, who was looking for a replacement for Michaels.
Brennaman sent in his tape and got the job from a field of 200 applicants.
Brennaman’s son Thom has obviously forged his own career in sports broadcasting, including NFL and MLB work for FOX and calling Reds games himself. Marty, though, is one of the last remaining voices of his generation. It’s always a shame when they leave the air.