Curtis Edward Gowdy (July 31 1919 – February 20 2006) was an American sportscaster, well-known as the longtime "voice" of the Boston Red Sox and for his coverage of many nationally-televised sporting events, primarily for NBC Sports in the 1960s and 1970s.
In April at the age of 31, Gowdy began his tenure as the lead announcer for the Red Sox. For the next 15 years, he called the exploits of generally mediocre Red Sox teams on WHDH radio and on three Boston TV stations: WBZ-TV, WHDH-TV, and WNAC-TV. During that time, Gowdy partnered with two future baseball broadcasting legends: Bob Murphy and Ned Martin. His nagging bad back caused Gowdy to miss the entire season.
He left the Red Sox after the season for NBC Sports, where for the next ten years he called the national baseball telecasts of the Saturday afternoon Game of the Week and Monday Night Baseball during the regular season (and the All-Star Game in July), and the post-season playoffs and World Series in October.
Besides Paul Christman, who followed him to NBC in 1965, his other football broadcast partners were Kyle Rote, Al DeRogatis, Don Meredith, John Brodie, and Merlin Olsen. His broadcast partners for baseball included Pee Wee Reese, Tony Kubek, and Joe Garagiola. He also had many different partners for basketball. Al DeRogatis was also Gowdy's partner for the college football games.
In 1970, he was coveted by ABC's Roone Arledge for the new Monday Night Football, but Gowdy was bound by his contract to NBC Sports (although he continued with Grits Gresham of Natchitoches, Louisiana, to host the outdoors show The American Sportsman on ABC).
Jack Fisher into his windup, here's the pitch...Williams swings, and there's a long drive to deep right...that ball is going, and it is gone! A home run for Ted Williams, in his last time at bat in the major leagues! - Calling Williams' final career at-bat on September 28,The ball's hit deep... deep...it is gone! He did it! He did it! Henry Aaron... is the all-time home run... leader now! - Calling Aaron's 715th career home run on April 8,
RetirementHe retired in 1985, when The American Sportsman was canceled. Gowdy briefly came out of retirement in 1988, calling NFL games for NBC with Merlin Olsen, while Olsen's regular partner Dick Enberg was covering the Olympics in Seoul.
In May , a few months shy of his 84th birthday, Gowdy called a Red Sox-Yankees game from Fenway Park, as part of the ESPN Major League Baseball "Living Legends" series. At the end of the broadcast, he thought he could have done better. ESPN's Chris Berman said, "We'll give you another chance." Gowdy replied, "Call me back."
Gowdy also co-hosted the DCI Championships on PBS from 1989-1993 with Steve Rondinaro.
Film cameosHe also made cameo appearances in the movies The Naked Gun and Summer Catch, and his voice can be heard in BASEketball.
AuthorMr. Gowdy, who also did some sportswriting during his early broadcasting days, wrote two books: Cowboy at the Mike (1966), with Al Hirshberg, and Seasons to Remember: The Way It Was in American Sports, 1945-1960 (1993), with John Powers. He also wrote the foreword for the 2000 book The Golden Boy, authored by Dr. George I. Martin, in which Gowdy described the subject of the book, Jackie Jensen, as possibly the best athlete he had ever covered.
Radio stationsIn 1963, Gowdy purchased radio stations 800/WCCM and 93.7/WCCM-FM in Lawrence, Massachusetts, later changing the FM station's call letters to WCGY to somewhat match his name. Gowdy also owned several radio stations in Wyoming, including KOWB and KCGY-FM in Laramie. He sold his broadcast interests in Massachusetts in 1994 and his Wyoming stations in 2002. He also owned 850/WEAT & WEAT-FM in West Palm Beach, Florida, and WBBX(AM) in New Hampshire. The year away from broadcasting the Red Sox in 1957 awakened him to the fact that he might need an alternate way of making of living, leading to his interest in station ownership.
Television commercialsIn the 1980s, Gowdy voiced a series of beer commercials for Genesee, an American product brewed by the High Falls Brewing Company in Rochester, New York. Essentially, these ads had an outdoor enthusiast theme, with Curt's tag line being "Genesee - the great outdoors in a glass".
AwardsIn 1970, Curt Gowdy became the first sportscaster to receive the George Foster Peabody Award. He was elected to the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 1981. In addition, he was given the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in , the Pete Rozelle Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993 and a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1992, and was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in . Gowdy was president of the Basketball Hall of Fame for several years, and that institution's Curt Gowdy Award is presented annually to outstanding basketball writers and broadcasters; he was one of its first two recipients.
Curt Gowdy's 20 Halls of Fame honors/inductions:
- 1. Conservation Hall of Fame International - April 16, 1973
- 2. International Fishing Hall of Fame - 1981
- 3. Natl. Sportscasters & Sportswriters Hall of Fame - 1981
- 4. Sportswriters & Broadcasters Hall of Fame - 1984
- 5. National Baseball Hall of Fame - 1984, Ford Frick Award recipient
- 6. American Sportscasters Hall of Fame - 1985
- 7. Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame - 1990
- 8. Gold Medal Hall of Fame Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in New England
- 9. Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame - 1992
- 10. Oklahoma Assoc. of Broadcasters Hall of Fame - 1994
- 11. Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame - 1995
- 12. American Football League Hall of Fame - 1995
- 13. University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame - Sept. 25, 1998
- 14. Florida Sports Hall of Fame - 1999
- 15. Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame --- 2001
- 16. International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Fishing Hall of Fame - 2003
- 17. Wyoming Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame - 2003
- 18. Wyoming Outdoor Hall of Fame - 2004
- 19. National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame - 2005
- 20. Rose Bowl Hall of Fame --- 2005 inductee (Jan. 3, 2006)
Curt Gowdy State ParkA new state park in Wyoming, opened in 1971, was officially named for Gowdy on March 27, 1972, one of numerous honors bestowed on the native son from the state of Wyoming on "Curt Gowdy Day." The 11,000 acre (44 km²) Curt Gowdy State Park is halfway between his hometown of Cheyenne and his college town of Laramie. Additional land was acquired by the state for the park in 2006. "It has two beautiful lakes, hiking trails, camping, boating, fishing, and beauty," said Gowdy. "It has everything I love. What greater honor can a man receive?"
Gowdy was proud of his Wyoming heritage and loved the outdoors, and said that he was "born with a fly-rod in one hand," and that the sports microphone came a little later. In 2002, he recalled that his father, Edward Curtis Gowdy, who had taught him to hunt and fish, was the best fly-fisherman in the state. "We had free access to prime-time fishing and hunting. The outdoors was a way of life for me. I should have paid them to host The American Sportsman."
DeathCurt Gowdy died at the age of eighty-six at his winter home in Palm Beach, Florida, after an extended battle with leukemia. His funeral procession circled Fenway Park and he was interred in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was survived by his wife Jerre, daughter Cheryl Ann, sons Curt, Jr., and Trevor, and five grandchildren.
Curt Gowdy Post Office BuildingOn October 12, 2006 the United States Postal Service located in Green River, Wyoming, was officially designated as the Curt Gowdy Post Office Building honoring the place of Gowdy's birth. The legislation required for the United States Postal Service name change was introduced by Wyoming House Representative Barbara Cubin.
- Baseball Hall of Fame - Frick Award recipient
- American Football League Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy's citation
- 0332954 Curt Gowdy at the Internet Movie Database
- Ex-Red Sox Broadcaster Curt Gowdy Dies
- "Curt Gowdy dies at 86". The Boston Globe, .
- "Sportscaster Curt Gowdy dies at 86". The Boston Globe, .
- Red Sox mourn the loss of Hall of Fame broadcaster Curt Gowdy -- Boston Red Sox press release
- Full 3-hour Archive of American Television interview with Curt Gowdy on Google Video
- Sports E-Cyclopedia's Memoriam to Curt
- Curt Gowdy dies at 86 The New York Times 21-Feb-2006
- In memory of Curt Gowdy - U.S. Senator Craig Thomas 27-Feb-2006
- Curt Gowdy State Park - 1972 west of Cheyenne, Wyoming
- Curt Gowdy, Milo Hamilton and Vin Scully's Calls of Aaron's 715th Home Run from Archive.org