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Bill Webb, the well-respected lead director for baseball games on Fox Sports since the network won MLB rights in 1996, has died. He was 70.
A multiple Emmy Award winner who also called the shots for New York Mets games on the regional network SportsNet New York since 2006, Webb died Tuesday in Morristown, N.J., after a battle with lung cancer.
Webb worked every World Series that Fox had the rights to from 1996 until missing the 2015 Fall Classic as he was undergoing treatment. He was able to return to do Fox games as well as a limited number of Mets contests in the 2016 season but was sidelined again during the 2016 World Series because of injuries suffered from a fall on stairs in his home.
“There is not any one person more responsible for the look and feel of Major League Baseball on Fox than Bill Webb,” play-by-play man Joe Buck said before the 2015 Series. “He is at the top of the list. He and I have been doing this since Fox Sports got baseball back in 1996.
“He’s a director that has a good feel for baseball strategy, so he’s thinking along the lines that I’m thinking. He’s also thinking along the same lines as a manager.”
“Webby has such a sense of pitchers’ rhythm, he could call cameras [shots] with his back to the monitor,” Emmy-winning sports producer Michael Weisman said in October.
A native of West Orange, N.J., Webb attended Kinnelon High School and then the University of Tennessee. He left school and in 1969 started his career at New York station WOR-TV in the traffic department. He became the associate director on Mets telecasts from Shea Stadium in 1971 and then lead director on all the team’s games eight years later.
Webb then served as a top director at ABC Sports from 1988-96, directing MLB games, the Little League World Series, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes — for which he won four Eclipse Awards — and college football and basketball.
“ABC actually hired me to do baseball, but then they lost the baseball [package], so I ended up primarily directing for Wide World of Sports,” Webb said in a 2016 interview. “In any given week, you’d be directing boxing or skiing or figure skating. It was great training.”
He worked his first World Series for The Baseball Network in 1995.
Webb also helmed Knicks basketball and Rangers hockey cablecasts and New York Yankees baseball for MSG.
Survivors include his wife Cynthia, children Samantha, Erin and Matthew, sister Anne and brother Frank.
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