Joe Garagiola, former baseball player and broadcaster, died March 23 at the age of 90 in Tempe, Arizona. Garagiola’s chatty demeanor led to a broadcast career after his playing days were over. His talents went beyond baseball; Garagiola was a cohost on Today, a guest host on The Tonight Show, and emcee on To Tell the Truth and other game shows.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of this amazing man who was not just beloved by those of us in his family, but to generations of baseball fans who he impacted during his eight decades in the game," Garagiola's family said in a statement. "Joe loved the game and passed that love onto family, his friends, his teammates, his listeners and everyone he came across as a player and broadcaster. His impact on the game, both on and off the field, will forever be felt."
Garagiola grew up on the same St. Louis street as Yogi Berra, and sustained a nine-year Major League Baseball career of modest distinction that included 676 games for the Pirates, Cardinals, Cubs and Giants. He compiled a .257 lifetime average in 2,170 plate appearances.
Garagiola began his broadcasting career shortly after his retirement as a player, calling Cardinals games for radio station KMOX, and later, national radio broadcasts. He started doing play by play on Yankees telecasts in 1965, which launched him to the Game of the Week pre-game shows, called The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola, on NBC. He later did play-by-play on NBC’s weekly ballgame.
He worked three World Series, three National League Championship Series and three All-Star Games, and shared the booth with Vin Scully, Tony Kubek, Harry Caray, Dick Enberg and Curt Gowdy, among others. Garagiola also worked Angels and Diamondbacks games after his time with NBC ended.
Garagiola was inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.