A broadcasting legend will soon call it a career, as Cincinnati Reds play-by-play voice Marty Brennaman announced Wednesday that he will retire after the 2019 season.
Brennaman has become an institution in a city with a storied baseball history. After rising through the broadcasting ranks–including a stint with the Tidewater (now Norfolk) Tides (Class AAA; International League)–he joined the Reds in 1974, replacing Al Michaels. He has remained in Cincinnati ever since, being at the microphone during memorable periods in franchise history, including World Series championship seasons in 1975, 1976, and 1990.
He has received numerous honors over the span of his career, including the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award in 2000, and earned a faithful following among the Reds’ fan base. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
But he is more than that in his adopted hometown. He is a combination of celebrity and everyman. He’s an approachable icon. Call-in shows are dominated by fans asking Brennaman if he remembers encounters at United Dairy Farmers or Kroger.
Brennaman, 76, was hired as a 31-year-old in 1974. He was a polished announcer by then. He began his career in High Point, North Carolina, after graduating for the University of North Carolina in 1965. He did high schools sports, small colleges and anything else the station needed.
He moved up and on as the years went by, broadcasting Virginia Tech and William & Mary football and basketball and the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association.
He took over at radio voice of the Class AAA Tidewater Tides (now the Norfork Tides) in 1971. His work got the attention of Dick Wagner, then the general manager of the Reds, who was looking for a replacement for Michaels.
The Reds tweeted a video message from Brennaman on Wednesday:
A message from Marty Brennaman: pic.twitter.com/c66DFmyjQS
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) January 16, 2019
The 2019 season will be Brennaman’s 46th with the Reds.