Late-New York Mets Voice Of 80’s & 90’s Told It Like It Was
He was the personal catcher for two National Baseball Hall of Fame pitchers. He was behind the plate for most of Bob Gibson's historic 1968 season, where Gibson pitched to a 1.12 ERA and their St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series. He followed that by becoming HOF'er Steve Carlton's designated backstop. Yet, in New York, he is best known for his voice being a staple on Mets and Yankees broadcasts for two decades.
According to ESPN.com, Hall of Fame broadcaster, not player, though he was very good, Tim McCarver died on Thursday from heart failure. McCarver was part of the Mets broadcast team with another Hall of Fame player and broadcaster, Ralph Kiner from 1983 to 1998. McCarver and Kiner were the voices that guided the Mets faithful from oblivion to the World Series. The duo told fans about future stars named Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden and set the table for today's crew of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.
Not everyone loved Tim McCarver's candor. The Mets did not renew the Hall of Fame broadcaster after the 1998 season because some members of Mets management team were upset by some of McCarver's critical comments. The truth hurts sometimes. How good of an analyst was McCarver? On Thursday, Neil Best of newsday.com described a classic Tim McCarver call:
It was Game 7 of the World Series, November 4, 2001. The country was less than two months removed from 9/11. A sentimental favorite, New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th. The Diamondbacks had bases loaded and one out. Yankees manager brought his infield in with Luis Gonzalez at the plate.
Pinstripes' ace Mariano Rivera was on the mound. Following a foul ball, by Gonzalez on the first pitch from Rivera, McCarver said this on Fox: "One problem is Rivera throws inside to lefthanders. Lefthanders get a lot of broken-bat hits into shallow outfield. The shallow part of the outfield. That's the danger of bringing the infield in with a guy like Rivera on the mound."
Seconds later, Rivera threw inside to Gonzalez, who hit a broken-bat single to the shallow part of the outfield, a ball shortstop Derek Jeter likely would have caught had he been in his normal position. The rest was history. Arizona won. McCarver was spot on. Tim McCarver was 81.