what i watched last week
mad men season premiere

jon miller, hall of famer

I watched Miller’s speech today. I’m working from memory, but I don’t think he talked about himself in the entire speech, except in the context of praising someone else. He presented his career as having the luck to be in the right place at the right time with the right people … he’s just a kid from Hayward who wanted to eat french fries. When the speech was over, I thought it was a little too low-key. But I’m still thinking about it several hours later, and that gets at the good feelings his speech elicited.

I thought of posting one or two of Jon’s most famous calls … in the past here, I’ve posted the Ruben Rivera gaffe (“That was the worst base running in the history of the game!”), Miller’s legendary Vin Scully imitation, and what will always be the most remarkable of his many tricks, his imitation of Scully in Japanese. But today isn’t the day for a clip. Jon Miller isn’t in the Hall of Fame because of his Vin Scully imitation. He’s there because of his uncanny ability to draw a picture for the radio audience. He’s there because of his rapport with his fellow broadcasters. He’s there because of his fans. Every baseball fan has a favorite announcer, usually the one we grew up with. They’re with us for six months of every year, like a friend only more ubiquitous. Some of these announcers become known to the country at large … some of them are in the Hall of Fame. When you hear Vin Scully, you think “Dodgers.”

Well, this is Jon Miller: fans in two different cities feel that way about him, Baltimore and San Francisco.

Finally, you can’t talk about Bay Area sports announcers without noting the amazing luck we’ve had over the years with the quality of our guys. Miller is the third Giants announcer to get into the baseball Hall … Bill King is equally deserving, which is particularly noteworthy because he was even better at basketball, and no slouch at football. Hank Greenwald was a perfect fit for the Bay Area. “Kruk and Kuip” regularly get raves from people who don’t even live here. Greg Papa, like King, is a triple threat who can do all the major sports … he’s the closest anyone comes to King’s excellence at basketball. Ken Korach doesn’t get a lot of attention with the A’s, but he’s solid and, I’m guessing, a voice A’s fans associate with their team. We’re blessed, no doubt about it.

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