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In memoriam: Les Keiter

The popular sportscaster made his mark re-creating San Francisco games from a Manhattan studio after the Giants moved west, elaborating on the ticker-tape reports with a creative flair.Les Keiter, whose long career as a broadcaster began with Knicks games and heavyweight matches at the Garden and ended with Hawaii Islanders (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) and University of Hawaii games, passed away last Tuesday. He was 89.

Keiter had a broadcast career that included stops at all the big events: college basketball at Madison Square Garden and the Palaestra in Philly, Giants football at the Polo Grounds, and pregame and postgame Yankees shows in the original Yankee Stadium.

But he was best known for the three-year stint doing re-creations of San Francisco Giants games from the WINS studios in Manhattan. When the Dodgers and Giants moved west in 1958, that left a gaping hole on the summer sporting scene in New York City, and WINS management decided to fill air time with re-creations — a practice that was already dying out in the baseball world.

So Keiter used the tools of that trade — a drumstick and wooden block for the crack of the bat, three types of crowd noise, and the essential ticker-tape machine delivering play by play. Keiter and his imagination filled in the rest of the details.

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