Tim McCarver Retires As Baseball Broadcaster After Record Run

11:27 AM PST 03/27/2013 by Alex Ben Block
Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The former player announces that the 2013 season on Fox will be his last doing national baseball play-by-play with Joe Buck.

Tim McCarver, who has been doing play-by-play baseball broadcasts for Fox since 1996, announced Wednesday he will retire from the broadcast booth after the 2013 season.

“I’ve informed Fox Sports that I will not seek to extend my contract to broadcast baseball past the 2013 season,” said McCarver. “Although I am neither tired of broadcasting baseball nor have I in any way lost my interest in baseball, with which I have been associated as a player and broadcaster for 55 years, it’s time to cut back. Since 1996, my time with (broadcast partner) Joe Buck has been filled with some of the most memorable moments in the game’s magnificent history. I am very proud to have been a part of all the things that make this game so special for all of us who follow it day-to-day, week-to-week and year-to-year. Finally, to the gifted men and women at Fox with whom I’ve worked with over the last 17 years, your work has been exemplary and unmatched. You’re the best in the business and it has been a privilege.”

In a conference call making the announcement, McCarver said it “was not a tough call” to retire and that he wanted to do it when he still was at his best, and could go out on his own terms.

“Tim’s longevity as a lead network analyst is the result of hard work and his commitment to provide the best, honest analysis possible, and his decision to step down came as a surprise to us,” said Fox Sports Co-President and Chief Operating Officer Eric Shanks. "On behalf of everyone at Fox Sports and generations of baseball fans, David (Hill), Ed (Goren), Randy (Freer) and I would like to thank Tim for everything he has done for Fox since 1996 and baseball over the last 55 years. We’re just glad we get to enjoy his friendship and savor his expertise one more season.”

In the announcement, Fox said McCarver, whose uninterrupted run as a major league player and broadcaster began in 1959, has worked 28 consecutive MLB post-seasons on network television dating back to 1984, providing analysis for a record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games. He has earned three straight Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Sports Event Analyst” (2000-02) and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2012 Ford C. Frick Award.

 McCarver has teamed with Buck for a record 17 years as the network’s lead national baseball broadcast team.  No baseball broadcasting tandem has called more World Series (15) and All-Star Games (14), according to Fox.

"It was my great fortune to be paired with Tim as a kid back in 1996," said Buck. “It gave me instant credibility and helped shaped my career.  Tim is the best ever to do what he does, the ultimate professional and the best first-guesser in the history of this business. I have always been proud to call him my partner, and I’m prouder still to call him my friend. I will be forever grateful to him for both parts of our relationship, and I’m going to miss him next year."

“Tim McCarver is not only one of the best sports analysts I’ve ever worked with, but more importantly, one of the best I’ve ever heard,” offered News Corp. Senior Executive Vice President David Hill, the former chairman and CEO of FOX Sports Media Group. “McCarver lives up to John Madden’s credo for great sports analysis -- the great ones tell you what you’re seeing, but not seeing. The number of times that Tim has said expect this to happen -- and it does -- is absolutely staggering. In the business it’s known as ‘first-guessing,’ but Tim wasn’t guessing. He just knew what was going to happen and told the viewers. His knowledge and love for the game is going to take a long time to be equaled. He leaves big shoes to fill.”

Former Fox Sports President and Executive Producer Ed Goren, who worked with McCarver for 21 years at CBS and Fox, had a similar assessment: “Tim redefined the role of baseball analyst, and in so doing, made first-guessing an art-form.  No analyst is more dedicated to providing his audience insight and understanding into the game, and his priority has always been to give his honest opinion based on a career that goes back a remarkable seven decades.”

McCarver has the distinction of being the only MLB analyst to have worked for all four major broadcast networks. He joined Fox Sports in 1996 after a two-year stint as a game analyst for The Baseball Network’s broadcasts on ABC. He returned to ABC in 1994 after four years with CBS Sports, where he also served as lead baseball analyst working the All-Star Game, National League Championship Series and World Series from 1990 to 1993. He teamed with Joe's father, Jack Buck, in 1990 and 1991, followed by Sean McDonough in 1992 and 1993.  During his first stint as an analyst for ABC's baseball coverage (1984-89), McCarver covered the 1984, 1986 and 1988 National League Championship Series, the 1985, 1987 and 1989 World Series, and the 1986 and 1988 All-Star Games. His first network assignment came in the early ‘80s, while still playing, on NBC’s Game of the Week.

"Tim McCarver has chronicled the national pastime on our biggest stages, including a record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games, for a generation of baseball fans,” offered MLB Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.  “As an analyst, he has always thought like a manager in the dugout, and in the process he helped redefine what sports fans expected from the broadcast booth. Tim has led a remarkable baseball life since signing with the Cardinals in 1959, and all of us at Major League Baseball look forward to joining our partners at FOX Sports in honoring his Hall of Fame career throughout the 2013 season. On behalf of our 30 clubs, I thank Tim for his important contributions to our game over the past seven decades.”

McCarver began his broadcasting career at WPHL-TV in Philadelphia. He spent 16 seasons as an analyst for New York Mets broadcasts on WWOR, three seasons working New York Yankees games on FOX-owned WNYW and one year analyzing San Francisco Giants games on KTVU.

In 1959, McCarver signed with the St. Louis Cardinals out of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. In addition to 12 seasons with the Cardinals, he spent eight-and-a-half years with the Philadelphia Phillies, half a season with the Montreal Expos, and two seasons with the Boston Red Sox. In 21 big league seasons he hit .271 with 97 home runs and 645 runs batted in. 

As an author, McCarver released best-sellers Diamond Gems (2008); Few and Chosen: Defining Cardinal Greatness Across the Eras (2005); The Perfect Season (1999); Tim McCarver's Baseball For Brain Surgeons And Other Fans: Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro (1999) and Oh Baby, I Love It! (1987). He contributed the foreword to Alex Belth’s Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights (2006); Kelly Laduke’s All Stars: One Team, One Season (1996) and Lloyd Johnson’s The Baseball Timeline - A Chronological History of All the Teams, Stars and Seasons in Major League Baseball (1992).

McCarver’s nationally-syndicated sports interview program, The Tim McCarver Show, is in its 12thseason, and airs in the top 50 markets and reaches homes in more than 90 percent of the U.S.

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