Many of you know this has been Vin Scully's final season announcing baseball games. He is certainly a baseball treasure and should be fully honored as he heads off into retirement. But, we shouldn't forget about his friend and broadcasting peer, Dick Enberg. Enberg is retiring at the end of 2016, as well. Despite being overshadowed by Scully, he still deserves our appreciation.
Enberg is the Ben Zobrist of announcers, providing quality work across the sports landscape. Besides his work as a baseball announcer with the Padres, he has called the following:
- 28 Wimbledon tournaments
- 10 Super Bowls (8 as TV announcer, 1 for radio, and 1 as host)
- 9 Rose Bowls
- 8 NCAA Basketball Championships
I have three favorite Enberg "moments." The first one will make you cry; Enberg starts the Padres telecast the first game after Tony Gwynn passed away.
My second is very subjective. Enberg was on the call for the Illinois comeback win in the Elite Eight of the 2005 NCAA tournament. "Williams to tie it with a three..."
Finally, Enberg was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 when he won the Ford C. Frick award. His friend called him to break the news. Below the video is a transcript from part of his Hall of Fame speech. Prepare to get emotional about baseball.
This Is Why I Love Baseball
I love the distinct sounds a ball makes against ball and glove, the calls of umpires and concessionaires.
I find great joy in its poetry, continuing to marvel at baseball's strengths and subtleties and sober disappointments, each with a challenge to call it right;
The perfect interception of a laser line drive by a geometrically correct outfielder and sometimes the daring dive to accomplish the mission,
The exultant cacophony of the crowd in a walk-off win,
The extraordinary drama of late innings building to a no-hitter.
I loved acknowledging the subtle arrogance of Hall of Famer Rod Carew's drag bunt, Tony Gwynn's mastery of an inside-out missile deftly directed through the 5.5 hole, the sleight of hand of Brooks Robinson magically reducing doubles into 5-3 putouts, the towering arch of a Ted Williams mortar shot deposited in the bleachers high;
The classic confrontation of the best hitter against the best pitcher,
And the immaculately executed ballet of a double play. I love the double play.
As the song goes, these are just a few of my favorite things.
And you know it doesn't end there. Baseball never ends there.
That's why we embrace it; we share it and score it, play it and honor it. It's a generational game, connecting us gloriously with the past and heading us to the future.