National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – February 20 – Curt Gowdy

0 Comments 20 February 2013

Folks,

In a day pregnant with outstanding DPDs Curt Gowdy stands out like the stud he is. And I’ll be the first to admit its nice to see The Boston Globe have the strongest obit of this legend in beantown. After coming in far below the meaty part of the curve in so many contests I have to tip my derby hat when necessary.

The winner of 13 Emmy Awards, Mr. Gowdy was the first sportscaster to win a Peabody Award, a prestigious honor in broadcasting AND if your last name is Peabody (which doesn’t apply here). He broadcast 16 World Series, nine Super Bowls (including Superbowl III where Namath put the AFC on the map), eight Olympics, 12 Rose Bowls, and 24 NCAA Final Fours.

Gowdy is most fondly remembered in beantown as the voice of the Red Sox throughout the lean years of the 50s and 60s. Given the Red Sox recent state of affairs any fond memory is welcome at this point. Gowdy’s voice was a warm, mellow twang prompting many to call him ‘the voice under the pillow’ –  which is not only slightly creepy but also was what T.W. was known for at summer camp (for different reason altogether). That voice called Carl Yastrzemski’s first at-bat — and Ted Williams’s last. ”It was one of the big thrills of my life,” Mr. Gowdy said in a Globe interview about announcing Williams’s last home run.

He’s a member of some 20 halls of fame, including those of baseball, professional football, hot dog eating, speed lawn mowing and basketball. For seven years, he served as president of the Basketball Hall of Fame; and the hall’s annual sportswriting and broadcasting awards bear his name.

Perhaps Mr. Gowdy was proudest of his membership in the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame. A passionate outdoorsman, he hosted ”The American Sportsman” on ABC for two decades. His native Wyoming named a state park for Mr. Gowdy in 1972. He owed his nickname, ”The Cowboy,” to his background and love of the outdoors.

Gowdy’s legacy, or perhaps folklore, in Boston sports culture is dense. While he was calling games for the Red Sox he also called games for the Celtics in the off season. If Celtic great John Havlicek is to be believed, he made a far greater contribution to the team than any he made to the Red Sox. According to Havlicek, coach Red Auerbach once asked Mr. Gowdy which player had most impressed him when he broadcast the 1962 NCAA Final Four. He said Havlicek, and Auerbach proceeded to draft the future basketball Hall of Fame member.

It’s also rumored Gowdy was the inspiration for Auerbach’s foray into marijuana smoking during the ‘67-’68 season which ended in the Celtics breaking their streak of 8 titles in a row.

Obits on a Wednesday? You bet your bipper.

P.S. How about that clip of Gowdy on the NFL on NBC from ’88. Talk about the gold standard of class and grace eh?

Sportscaster Curt Gowdy dies at 86: A big-game voice that defined an era

By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff  |  February 21, 2006

Curt Gowdy, who went from being the voice of the Red Sox for 15 seasons to becoming America’s premier sportscaster in the late ’60s and early ’70s, died of leukemia yesterday at his Palm Beach, Fla., home. He was 86. Continue

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.


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