Baseball catcher/Baseball broadcaster Tim McCarver has died today:The two-time World Series Champ/Highly Skilled Broadcaster was 81 years old

McCarver, champion catcher turned famed broadcaster, dies at 81

Tim McCarver, a two-time World Series champion who became a household name as a highly skilled broadcaster both nationally and in three Major League cities, died on Thursday at the age of 81. The cause of death was heart failure.

McCarver, who made his Major League debut with the Cardinals in 1959, spent seven decades in professional baseball. That included a 21-year Major League playing career before transitioning into an award-winning broadcaster, whom many considered to be baseball’s version of football’s John Madden. McCarver had a way of simplifying the game of baseball for the average fan; his use of the English language was impeccable, punctuated by a touch of friendly Southern drawl.

McCarver was awarded the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 2012 for his Emmy-winning work in the booth.

“Tim McCarver was an All-Star, a World Series Champion, a respected teammate, and one of the most influential voices our game has known,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “As a player, Tim was a key part of great Cardinals and Phillies teams in his 21-year career. In the booth, his analysis and attention to detail brought fans closer to our game and how it is played and managed. Tim’s approach enhanced the fan experience on our biggest stages and on the broadcasts of the Mets, the Yankees and the Cardinals.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are grateful for Tim’s impact on sports broadcasting and his distinguished career in our National Pastime. I extend my deepest condolences to Tim’s family, friends and the generations of fans who learned about our great game from him.”

McCarver worked as an analyst and play-by-play voice for the Phillies, Mets, Yankees, Cardinals and Giants from 1980-2019. It was his work as a broadcaster with the Mets that gained McCarver fame and earned him an opportunity to become an analyst for ABC, CBS and FOX, which lasted a combined 28 years, calling a then-record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games. McCarver worked his first World Series game in 1985 as a late replacement for Howard Cosell, and he set a record in 2003 by broadcasting his 13th Fall Classic on national TV, surpassing Curt Gowdy.

Like many analysts in baseball, McCarver, born in Memphis on Oct. 16, 1941, preceded his time behind the microphone with years behind the plate. He spent 21 years as a Major League catcher for several teams, including the Cardinals, Phillies, Expos and Red Sox. His best years were with the Cardinals, with whom he won World Series titles in 1964 and ‘67. In the ‘64 Series against the Yankees, McCarver shined at the plate, going 11-for-23 with five RBIs and a home run that broke a tied score in the 10th inning of Game 5. He even stole home in Game 7. He won another Series ring in ’67, the year he earned his second All-Star selection and finished second in National League MVP voting, and he went 9-for-27 with a homer and four RBIs in the Cards’ seven-game World Series loss to Detroit in ’68.

McCarver had his most success in catching two of his era’s most difficult pitchers, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. In 1968, with McCarver as his primary batterymate, Gibson posted an astounding 1.12 ERA, which is still a live-ball era record. That same year, Gibson set a World Series record by striking out 17 batters in one game against the Tigers. Gibson died in 2020.

“What made Tim special was, after maybe an inning, we were pretty much on the same path,” Gibson told FOX in 2013. “I guess, after 50-something years, we are definitely the best of friends in the world right now, and I think it’s going to stay that way.”

McCarver would later become Carlton’s personal catcher when both were with the Phillies. He was in the starting lineup from 1976 through most of ’79 almost whenever Carlton was on the mound. During that period, Carlton was 48-26 with McCarver behind the plate.

McCarver retired from playing after the 1979 season and moved into Philadelphia’s broadcast booth, where he quickly prospered, though he ended up returning to the playing field for six games for the World Series-champion Phillies in late 1980, making him one of the few players to play in the Majors in four decades.

“The Phillies are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tim McCarver and extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, former teammates and colleagues,” Phillies owner John Middleton said in a statement. “Tim joined the Phillies at the height of his career and returned for his final six seasons as a veteran leader, helping the club to three straight NLCS appearances and, ultimately, their first-ever World Series title. Following his playing career, fans throughout the world, including here in Philadelphia, listened to him describe their favorite team’s most iconic moments with professionalism and class. For Tim’s leadership, friendship and voice, the Phillies are forever grateful.”

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