Monday, January 23, 2012

And That's The Ballgame - Andy Musser Passes

The three voices that I most associate with my youth have all left us now.  First 'His Whiteness,' Richie Ashburn stepped out of the announcer's booth in New York City and passed into the night after calling a Phillies - Mets game in the Phils' dreadful 1997 last-place season.

Fresh off calling the 2008 World Series win for the Phils, Harry Kalas died preparing for a game in Washington, DC.  I cried that day, and again a few days later when thousands welcomed Harry home to Philly one last time.  While we still get to hear him sing 'High Hopes' every time the Phillies win at CBP, I still tune in sometimes and expect to hear him calling the game.

And today we lost Andy Musser, the third member of the Phillies broadcasting crew of my youth.  He was always the quietest of the three, the most generally reserved, but I really think he only paled in comparison because of the two Hall of Famers he worked with.  His double play calls were as smooth as Bowa, Trillo and Rose were on the field.

Some would argue Musser's voice went silent years ago when the Phillies management pushed him aside to give Chris Wheeler a larger role.  I still heard a bit of a bit of it in my mind though until Harry passed a few years ago. Wheeler and Tim McCarver were a part of those broadcasting teams as well, but never really seemed to be as big a part.  McCarver went on to make it big in broadcasting.  Against all odds, Wheels is still here, over-analyzing every pitch.

I grew up lisetening to the Phils on the radio on my grandfather's porch, and on TV on Sunday afternoons at my other grandfather's in Essington.  The silences were as important as the things that were said.

Today, we lost my last link to the soundtrack of my summer afternoons and evenings. I'm sad, but I remember seeing Musser a few years ago at a beer event he was working.  Someone inevitably asked him if he missed the games.  He looked wistful for just a moment and said something like, 'I'd be crazy if I didn't, but I've got a good life.'

Andy, thanks for all the great memories and say hello to Whitey and Harry for me.  I'll have an Anchor Steam for you!

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