Longtime Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Class AA; Southern League) broadcaster Roger Hoover is leaving his post with the franchise, as he is pursuing new opportunities in collegiate sports.
Over his eight seasons as the lead voice for Jacksonville baseball, Hoover called the 2013 Southern League All-Star Game, which set a Southern League attendance record, Jacksonville’s 2014 Southern League Championship and served as a bridge once the franchise rebranded in 2016 as the Jumbo Shrimp. The native of Kingsport, Tenn., earned the Southern League’s 2018 Broadcaster of the Year in a year that saw him garner national attention when his laptop was destroyed by a foul ball during his July 4 broadcast at Mobile. The 2019 campaign saw Hoover continue to excel in the radio booth, culminating in a July 26 call of Stone Garrett robbing a home run that was selected as the top play on ESPN’s Top 10 plays.
“Jacksonville baseball fans have been so fortunate to enjoy Roger’s broadcasts over the past eight seasons,” said executive vice president/general manager Harold Craw. “His professionalism and work ethic shined throughout, and he will certainly be missed by our fans, but also as an exceptional member and representative of the Jumbo Shrimp front office.”
A 2010 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Hoover spent 12 seasons broadcasting Minor League Baseball, including 11 in the Southern League. He also called a selection of Miami Marlins’ Spring Training games in each of the past four seasons, and will broadcast three contests in 2020. In the baseball offseason, Hoover is in his sixth year in a host of broadcasting positions for the University of Alabama football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams on the Crimson Tide Sports Network. He also provides play-by-play for SEC Network+ broadcasts of college baseball, basketball, softball, and soccer, with all broadcasts available on the ESPN app.
Hoover penned a touching letter in his goodbye to Jacksonville fans:
Over eight seasons it has been my privilege and honor to serve as the Director of Broadcasting and play-by-play voice for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (previously Suns). Moving forward, I will no longer be serving in this role to pursue new opportunities in collegiate sports and on television.
I want to thank Peter Bragan, Jr. and the Bragan family for first bringing me to Jacksonville, sight unseen back in 2011. I am also extremely thankful to Ken Babby and Harold Craw for keeping me in Jacksonville for the past four years. I have always received the very best support from ownership and club administration, and I am thankful for their great support of our broadcasts. I also want to express gratitude for the leadership provided by Chris Peters, Casey Nichols, Noel Blaha, and Brian DeLettre.
My broadcast partners in Jacksonville have always made our work much better. They’ve also been extremely fun to work with each and every day. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to work alongside great professionals including: Scott Kornberg, Marco LaNave, Jacob Lovelace, Roland Stamm, Cody DeLettre, Jeanie Verderese, Kyle Crooks, Mackenzie Thirkill, Joe Kuczynski, Michael West, Jason Patterson, Matt Leland, Andrew Green, Emily Rutzen, as well as Pedro on television.
I also want to thank the Miami Marlins organization for their years of incredible support. They’ve given me the chance to broadcast major league spring training games for five years and have always welcomed me warmly in Miami and for that I am extremely grateful. Their players and staff have been a pleasure to work with, and I am especially appreciative for our Jacksonville managers: Andy Barkett, David Berg, Randy Ready, and Kevin Randel.
My fellow broadcasters in the Southern League are like a family to me and I am grateful to have called games alongside them for the past 11 years. I will miss their daily camaraderie but I am thankful I have friendships with S.L. voices past and present that will last for a lifetime.
Most importantly, thank you to Jacksonville baseball fans. The Bold City’s own Lynyrd Skynyrd said in “Jacksonville Kid” – “Jacksonville you raised me and this is where I got my sound.” I was the last Voice of the Jacksonville Suns, and the first Voice of the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and I am very proud of that. The lessons I learned at the ballpark forever changed me, and I am forever grateful.