Broadcaster Rankings (Radio): Names and Places

Over the course of last week, we released the results of our television broadcaster rankings — themselves the product of reader crowdsourcing that started in late November. (See the final rankings here.)

I’m not lying when I say that the success of the project exceeded my expectations — both for (a) the degree to which, as a consumer of televised baseball, the results generally reflected my own rough sense of the league’s broadcasters, and also (b) the civility with which readers conducted themselves (this being the internet, I mean, itself not known as the home of well-tempered discourse). As such, I’ll begin publishing ballots for radio broadcast teams, starting today, in the Daily Notes column found in these pages.

The first step: to arrive at some understanding of whom, exactly, we’re rating. The names you see below are intended to represent the main radio broadcast teams from 2011 for each of the league’s 30 clubs. The information here is taken from Wikipedia, but would certainly benefit from editing by readers who know and care about such things.

Again, the idea is to identify the broadcasters most frequently found in each team’s booth in 2011 — even if there have been changes this past offseason. This way we can establish a frame of reference for all 30 teams and then revisit it as readers become familiar with their team’s new broadcasters.

Also note that, while many clubs have occasional color commentators and guest announcers, isolating the most regular contributors will make this process more streamlined, if perhaps slightly less nuanced. Finally, don’t hesitate to indicate if a club has a dedicated home and (different) away broadcast team, as the Dodgers do on the television side.

Below is the preliminary list. Teams marked with a “(?)” are the ones about which I’m least sure.

Arizona: Greg Schulte, Tom Candiotti

Atlanta: Jim Powell, Don Sutton

Baltimore: Joe Angel, Fred Manfra (?)

Boston: Joe Castiglione, Dave O’Brien

Chicago AL: Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson

Chicago NL: Pat Hughes, Keith Moreland

Cincinnati: Marty Brennaman, Jeff Brantley

Cleveland: Tom Hamilton, Jim Rosenhaus

Colorado: Jack Corrigan, Jerry Schemmel

Detroit: Dan Dickerson, Jim Price

Houston: Milo Hamilton, Brett Dolan, Dave Raymond (?)

Kansas City: Denny Matthews, Steve Stewart (?)

Los Angeles AL: Terry Smith, José Mota

Los Angeles NL: Charley Steiner, Rick Monday

Miami: Dave Van Horne, Glenn Geffner

Milwaukee: Bob Uecker, Cory Provus

Minnesota: John Gordon, Dan Gladden

New York AL: John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman

New York NL: Howie Rose, Wayne Hagin

Oakland: Ken Korach, Vince Cotroneo

Philadelphia: Scott Franzke, Larry Andersen

Pittsburgh: Greg Brown, Steve Blass, John Wehner (?)

St. Louis: Mike Shannon, John Rooney

San Diego: Ted Leitner, Bob Scanlan

San Francisco: Jon Miller, Dave Flemming

Seattle: Rick Rizzs, Ron Fairly

Tampa Bay: Andy Freed, Dave Wills

Texas: Eric Nadel, Steve Busby

Toronto: Jerry Howarth, Alan Ashby

Washington: Charlie Slowes, Dave Jageler

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

62 Responses to “Broadcaster Rankings (Radio): Names and Places”

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  1. tcnjsteve says:

    Mets are now Rose and Josh Lewing, Hagin was let go

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  2. Brian says:

    Kansas City shuffled its radio lineup a little bit. Denny Matthews will call about 110 games as the PBP guy, with Ryan LeFebvre and Bob Davis also contributing. Steve Physioc will be the color guy for radio.

    Stewart is more for pre- and post-game and out-of-town updates.

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  3. InClementeWthr says:

    The Pirates use different combinations of all their broadcasters on both TV and radio. Greg Brown and Tim Neverett handle play-by-play, and Bob Walk, Steve Blass (home games only), and John Wehner (mainly road games) provide color commentary.

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  4. Mitch says:

    Joe Angel and Fred Manfra is correct for the O’s. They are really both play-by-play guys, splitting time during the broadcast.

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    • Well-Beered Englishman says:

      Similar for the Nationals – Charlie is the default PBP and Dave the default color guy, but I think every three innings they switch, or something like that.

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      • That seems to be a common arrangement, actually. Milwaukee and Boston are similar — and Texas, too, I think.

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      • Bryz says:

        The Twins do the same thing. Gordon would take first 3 innings, then Gladden had the middle 3, and then I think the final 3 was back to Gordon.

        In the lone spring training game I’ve heard new PbP guy Cory Provus paired with Gladden, this arrangement was the same.

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  5. Pat says:

    For the Royals, Steve Stewart was limited to reading scores of other games. Bob Davis, now relegated to the third or fourth guy, was Denny Mathews’ primary partner.

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  6. LV says:

    John Gordon retired after 2011 and Cory Provus is the new voice of the Twins. Joe Block takes over for Provus in Milwaukee.

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  7. jcj022 says:

    For the Brewers, Cory Provus is with the Twins now. Bob Uecker’s new partner is Joe Block. He came over from the Dodgers post-game show on KABC-AM.

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  8. Mike says:

    The Phillies pairing is missing Jim Jackson.

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    • So, it’s Franzke, Andersen, and Jackson? Is it a three-man booth? Or, if not, how are innings delegated generally?

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      • DD says:

        The main paid is Franzke and Andersen. Jackson fills in on PBP for radio and TV, but he’s not what I would consider a primary guy. He’s the primary Flyers PBP guy on TV.

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      • Hosewalt says:

        In 2011 Jackson was doing PBP of home games in the 4th and 5th innings, when the Flyers weren’t playing, as I recall. So amount that to approx. two innings over 50 games or so.

        I wouldn’t say that’s enough to make him part of the team. Also, he would sort of drag the rating down (I’d have to think Franzke/LA is one of the top 10 teams in the game).

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  9. Bleeding Ears says:

    Is it possible that there is a worse broadcast pair than Sterling and Waldman?

    If there is, I am so so sorry for that fanbase.

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    • Sammy says:

      You clearly don’t appreciate the value of 50s Broadway References.

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    • Joe says:

      Waldman should retire for the sake of the listeners, at least sterling is tolerable in a cheesy way. Waldman brings nothing to the booth and often just repeats what sterling says as well as throwing out random, nothing to do with what is being discussed, facts

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      • baycommuter says:

        I actually like Waldman, she does her homework and has a former beat writer’s attention to detail about the players. The beat writer style might not be ideal here, but it’s where she’s coming from. I would caution people against anti-female bias.

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    • Peter R says:

      “I always say, That’s baseball Suzyan.”

      I think we need to start a grassroots campaign to get Sterling and Waldman to win this thing….would be hilarious.

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  10. Matt Z says:

    I wish this would’ve come out before Ron Santo’s death. I’d have been interested to see how internet voters ranked him given the high correlation between charisma and analysis in the TV broadcasters poll.

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    • Eddie says:

      He’d have been the outlier. Cubs fans (myself included) adored him because he bled for the team, but wow was he a poor analyst. Ron had a stable of 15 or so anecdotes that he told at least once a season on the air. Most had nothing to do with baseball, and Pat frequently needed to interrupt him to update the listeners on on field happenings. I think he would have earned high marks in spite of his lackadaisical color analysis.

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  11. Orfo says:

    For the Padres, it’s Leitner, Andy Masur and Jerry Coleman. Leitner/Masur are the primary pair, Coleman does maybe 30 games/year. Scan just joined the radio team this year, he was a TV studio guy with 4SD the last couple of years. Not sure how much he’s actually going to be on the air.

    More info here:

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  12. Evan says:

    The Twins had a number of guys in the booth last year since Gordon was taking quite a bit of time off. They were Kris Atteberry, Bob Kurtz, and Ted Robinson.

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  13. Mark Houston says:

    Until Milo decides to give his toup a long needed rest I wouldn’t listen to the radio side of Astros broadcasting if you put a gun to my head. Hamilton is the biggest fraud in baseball announcing and has been for 30 years. He is a huckster. A carny geek who is as tired of baseball, as we the listeners are of his spiel. Thank God he has been unable to backstab the television crew like he did Alan Ashby and Larry Dierker. The absolute worst!

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    • Nate says:

      Haha. I didn’t enjoy Milo either, but this sentiment is stronger than I’d use.

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    • Greg says:

      I had the displeasure of listening to Milo’s broadcast shortly after I paid for an XM subscription. I was cursing at my radio within minutes. Sterling has the same effect on me. I refuse to listen to either of those frauds. I want to enjoy the game without having to notice that the announcers are attention whores.

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      • baycommuter says:

        When I was eight years old, I listened to Milo as Bob Elson’s sidekick on Chicago White Sox broadcasts on my parent’s giant Zenith hi-fi cabinet. He was bad then too…

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  14. Youppi! says:

    John Sterling + Suzyn Waldman = Suckothon.

    i tune into the away broadcasters for continued sanity.

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    • ben says:

      Agreed. I haven’t heard everyone on this list, but from who I have heard Sterling and Waldman are the worst. Especially Sterling. That guy seems really obsessed with himself.

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  15. jp_on_rye says:

    Hope Miller and Flemming win this one.

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  16. Daniel says:

    Dave Barnett did the radio for the rangers at the start of the year until he became a television guy…and I think Bryan Doglin does some too.

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  17. Tim says:

    The Astros are correct.

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  18. Snowblind says:

    Mariners are hard to pin down beyond Rizzs. Ever since Dave passed (R.I.P.), they’ve had a rotating cast of characters. Fairly had actually been semi-retired from broadcasting for a couple years, but came back as part of supporting Rick and memorializing Dave.

    So unless something changed over the winter that I didn’t read about, they’re still in a bit of a rotation on the radio side, other than Rick. A fair assessment lately includes Ken Levine (offbeat humor, great rapport with Rick), Ken Wilson (fantastic voice and presentation) and a variety of former players.

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  19. Hark says:

    On the Mariners side of things, Rick Rizzs had a rotating supporting cast that included Ron Fairly, Ken Levine, Ken Wilson…the M’s made a concerted effort to NOT replace Dave Niehaus.

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  20. bluejaysstatsgeek says:

    For the Jays, Haworth and Ashby are correct. They alternate every two innings on PBP, and it seems like Jerry often leaves the booth when Ashby’s doing PBP. For home games, Mike Wilner will often join Ashby while Haworth is out. Wilner is present at all home games and reads out of town scores. For away games, Wilner still does the scores, but from a studio in Toronto.

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  21. Dr. Chaleeko says:

    Red Sox notes:
    Castiglion and O’Brien is correct. They switch PBP duties several times during the game (might be 3-3-3, but I can’t recall the exact arrangement).

    In 2011, because O’Brien works ESPN MLB games on Weds nights (and does a few other occasional national broadcasts), Dale Arnold replaced him for 25 to 35 games.

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  22. Jeremy says:

    Pat Hughes is the best PBP guy in baseball. He had to baby sit Ronnie for years and did a remarkable job.

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  23. The Reds bring in Thom Brennaman from the TV side for the middle innings to pair with Marty, which is always nice. I miss Joe Nuxhall, but I still think Cincinnati has the best crew.

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  24. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    I will repeat here my ill-informed opinion that the average radio score will be higher than the average TV score.

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  25. As a Yankee fan I can confidently state that Waldman and Sterling will be at the bottom of this list. They’re unlistenable.

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  26. hysdavid says:

    n 2011 Scully did the first 3 innings by himself, then Steiner/Monday did the rest of the broadcast while Scully went TV side.

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  27. Astros sufferer says:

    Astros radio broadcast team is correct, with Hamilton doing only home games except for one road trip.

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  28. bdawg says:

    Jerry Howarth continues the magic that the late legend Tom Cheek brought with him to the booth for thousands of consecutive Blue Jays broadcasts. That also says a lot for Alan Ashby who is almost seamlesly interchangeable with him as they alternate every inning.
    Great recent story about Ashby recently (I posted this on another thread recently) I was listening to the Jays vs. Pirates (Spring training game2) radio broadcast and David Cooper fouled a ball back into the broadcast booth and it hit Alan Ashby right in the chest while doing the play-by-play. He fell onto the floor and right on his (recently surgically repaired) left shoulder. Must have really hurt since – the day before – he mentioned that he couldn’t even shake some one’s hand yet. The next 5 minutes were what Carson Cistulli of Fangraphs would call “Radio gold.” Seriously some of the best baseball banter and stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Ashby took one for the team and carried on with the broadcasting as best as he could without making it all about himself as I’m sure so many more broadcasters would have done. The next half inning, Travis Snider hit another ball back into the box and it hit Mike Wilner (the 3rd man in the booth) in the wrist and broke the clasp of his watch. Ashby was tracking it all the way and barely flinched.

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    • bdawg says:

      Please add a special comment for Tom Cheek. Tom was the Blue Jays’ lead broadcaster from Day 1, April 7, 1977, and didn’t miss a single game until his father died in June of 2004. 4,036 consecutive games – plus pre-season and post-season. A week after returning from his father’s funeral, Tom was diagnosed with brain cancer and he passed away 18 months later, far too early. Cheek was the voice of summer in Canada for 28 years. Chances are very good that if you heard him, you loved him. If you never heard him do a game, odds are you’ve at least heard the great “Touch ‘Em All, Joe” call that ended the 1993 World Series.
      A far more deserving candidate for the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence than a dozen Tim McCarvers rolled up into one.

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  29. Devin says:

    Tom Hamilton is one of the few reasons I am still an Indians fan

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  30. Tomas says:

    Jim Powell and Don Sutton are correct for ATL

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