Joe Starkey Broadcasts His Last 49er Game

I have always enjoyed sports on the radio and local announcers have become a part of my life.  Since he started broadcasting California Golden Seals ice hockey in the early 1970s, Joe Starkey‘s passionate broadcasts have entertained Bay Area fans .  Starkey is broadcasting his last 49er game Sunday, although he will continue with the California Golden Bears.

Starkey was a banker or something like that, who used to practice broadcasting into a tape recorder from one of the many vacant areas of the Oakland Arena during Seals games.  The Seals, a threadbare NHL franchise owned by Charlie Finley, were not even on the radio at first, but when they finally hit the airwaves, they hired Starkey, who has gone on to live a fan’s dream for 35 years.

I was at “The Play” in 1982, so I missed his famous call of “the band is on the field,” but it epitomized his style of great excitement and perhaps a shortage of facts.  I will take that over the sterile voices of Jim Nantz and Joe Buck any day.

Along with many Bay Area announcers, Starkey is intelligent.  In a world full of meatheads with “takes,” he has thoughtful opinions and is articulate enough to express them.  He also can get on officials with the best of them.  All in all, he makes the games fun.

As usual, I will mute the TV sound Sunday and listen to Starkey’s broadcast. It drives the rest of my family crazy, but to me, a big 49er touchdown without “oh what a bonanza” has something missing.

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~ by skaus on December 26, 2008.

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