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Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola retires

Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola announces his retirement. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

PHOENIX -- Wednesday marked the end of an era in baseball broadcasting.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola retired Wednesday in a press conference at the Diamondbacks Spring Training Complex in Scottsdale.

Saying that his health is good, Garagiola said he is stepping down to spend more time with his wife, Audrey. The two have been married for 63 years.

Garagiola said he wanted to accomplish three things with his life.

"I wanted to meet a Pope, I wanted to sleep in the White House and I wanted to make it to the Hall of Fame," said Garagiola. "I did meet a Pope, and then I did meet a president, President Ford. It's been a great ride."

Garagiola made it into the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster.

After a nine-year career as a baseball player, Garagiola moved to the broadcast booth in 1955. Over the years, he broadcast games for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He spent several years on NBC's "Major League Baseball Game of the Week." He worked with such baseball broadcasting greats as Harry Caray, Red Barber, Curt Gowdy and Vin Scully.

In addition to baseball, Garagiola served as one of the hosts of NBC's "Today" Show for a time. He hosted game shows like "To Tell The Truth," "Sale of the Century," and "Joe Garagiola's Memory Game." He even pinch-hit for Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show."

Garagiola has spent the last 15 years as a broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team said it will honor him at an upcoming game.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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