When a Hall of Fame broadcaster who analyzed more World Series than anyone in history left his post, you might expect some sorrow. That does not appear to be the case for Tim McCarver.
The much-maligned color commentator announced yesterday that he would be stepping down from the booth after 18 seasons with Fox Sports. Though he hasn’t ruled out a return to broadcasting, McCarver said “it’s time to cut back.” For many fans, his departure from baseball’s most prominent commentating position is a welcome one.
McCarver made his move to the booth in 1978 after a 21-year playing career, most of it with St. Louis and Philadelphia. Though he called games for the Phillies, Mets, Yankees and Giants over the course of his broadcast career, he was best known for his role on the national stage, most of which he spent alongside play-by-play announcer Joe Buck.
For the most part, especially in recent years, it’s been a role that has earned him substantial criticisms for a variety of gaffes. In addition to a handful of incidences where he mispronounced players’ names—sometimes repeatedly—he also miscounted the number of letters in the word “strike” and seemed to believe that San Francisco Giants fans used to chant “Barry! Barry! Barry!” for singer Barry Manilow, rather than slugger Barry Bonds. The first miscue took place during the 2011 World Series, while the latter occurred during last year’s Fall Classic. By all accounts, they were not isolated incidents.
Despite the criticism heaped upon McCarver, his enthusiasm for the game was undeniable, as were his accomplishments: 23 World Series broadcasts, 20 All-Star Game broadcasts and the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award. Now we’ll find out whether those accolades—or public perception—will define his legacy.