The Baltimore Orioles are revamping some of their broadcasters for the coming 2020 season. In all, there are 19 people who will serve as Oriole broadcasts this season, with different combinations going around throughout the season, and even some going between TV and radio. But there’s one guy to whom anyone calling Orioles games any year should look for guidance: Chuck Thompson.
I write a variation of this column during spring training every year; that being a tribute to the great Chuck Thompson. We all know who he is and his history with the Orioles. Not to mention national broadcasts. When he appeared nationally however, he was still uniquely Baltimore’s.
In mentioning the number of new people covering the team this year, I say that they should look to Thompson because of what he meant to the Baltimore community and to Orioles fans. As a hometown announcer, having the type of pull that he had is something that should be the goal.
That’s easier said than done. Back then every town and every team had it’s own Thompson. That voice of summer which represented good weather and good times. Philadelphia had Harry Kalas, New York Mel Allen, St. Louis Jack Buck, and Chicago Jack Brickhouse and later Haray Carey. Chuck Thompson was Baltimore’s “voice.”
While he did Colts games also, he’s synonymous with the O’s. When you would hear that smooth baritone of his, you knew it was time for Orioles baseball. I would argue that Orioles baseball wouldn’t be what it is today if not for Chuck Thompson. Until a certain point, the games weren’t televised. Fans’ only connection (unless they were at the game) was him broadcasting the games.
And that’s why that era of announcer was so important. Most people always remember their hometown voice as a result. Because if you wanted to follow the games, radio was the way to do it. So again, to the new voices of Orioles baseball, take a listen to Chuck Thompson. He was the best. The absolute best. Ain’t the beer cold?!