Baseball Hall of Fame to Induct Broadcaster Jon Miller on Sunday

Hall of Fame broadcaster, Jon Miller.  That has a great sound to it, just like the man’s radio and television descriptions of the game of baseball.

Jon Miller will be introduced by Hall of Famer (and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball partner) Joe Morgan in Cooperstown on Sunday

Sunday, Miller, who broadcasts nationally for ESPN and locally for the San Francisco Giants, will be inducted into the broadcasters wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  He “got the call” while on a cruise with his wife just after they had docked in Cartagena, Columbia in early February.  Miller couldn’t help himself when he told his wife the news.

“So I go up, find her on deck and say, ‘By the way, sweetheart, there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask you.’” Miller reminisced.

“Did you ever sleep with a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame?  She got a little ticked off and said, ‘What kind of question is that?…Oh, oh.  Wait…a…minute!’  So it was kind of fun that way.”

Leave it to Miller, who routinely does yoga to relax in the broadcast booth, to find a creative way to inform his wife of his election to the Hall.  Everything he does in – and apparently out of – the booth is creative.  Miller was one of the great announcers I had the privilege to listen to over the years.

From the time I began listening to baseball broadcasts on radio (and occasionally on television), I have listened to some of the greats of the game.  Mel Allen and Red Barber in New York…Vin Scully in Los Angeles…Harry Caray and Jack Buck in St. Louis…Ernie Harwell in Detroit…Chuck Thompson in Baltimore…and, of course, Miller also in Baltimore.

He broadcast’s games like the listener is a friend.  Accuracy is very important to him, even if it is radio.  He prides himself on calling the right pitch thrown.  Every game is important…despite posting some really bad seasons, people in Baltimore always tuned into WBAL radio…first to hear Thompson, then Miller…to hear how the O’s were doing.

One time in particular, might have really confused people.  The O’s were being blown out, and Miller was in full stride…one inning he broadcast the game doing his great impression of Vin Scully…the next, he broadcast in Spanish…and my favorite…one inning in Japanese.  Seriously, you had to listen.

Jon Miller has broadcast games for the Oakland A’s (1974), the Texas Rangers (1978-79), the Boston Red Sox (1980-82), the Baltimore Orioles (1983-96) and the San Francisco Giants (1997-present).  He also called the Game of the Week on NBC (1986-89) before moving to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball (1990-present).  First only local fans of these teams had the opportunity to hear Jon Miller…but nationally since 1986, if just for one night a week, everyone could (can) hear his stories and learn about the game’s history.

On Sunday afternoon, Miller will be introduced a the Hall of Fame induction ceremony by his longtime ESPN partner and Hall of Famer himself, Joe Morgan.  After his acceptance speech, which should be very entertaining, Miller will be followed by the day’s other inductees: umpire Doug Harvey, manager Whitey Herzog and outfielder Andre Dawson.  Indeed, these inductees are in great company.

I have met Jon Miller on several occasions, but the one I remember best was an early March spring training game in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, between the Orioles and the New York Yankees.  No one noticed the large, nearly bald guy wearing a big flowered shirt walking up to the booth…except for me.  I asked if he had a minute…and he did.  He said, “It’s only spring training, but I can’t wait to get going and let the folks back home know how the O’s are looking.”  As for Miller, he was in mid-season form…in both voice and dress.

Congratulations to Jon Miller…I hope you have a chance to hear him call a game or two!