Joe Garagiola has decided to retire after more than 58 years in the broadcast booth.
The 87-year-old Garagiola announced on Wednesday that he was ending his on-air career after close to six decades. The former Major League catcher had worked as a part-time analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and in a 30-minute press conference on Wednesday announced his retirement.
“I don’t deserve a lot of things that have happened to me,” he said, ”but I remember Jack Benny saying he had arthritis, he didn’t deserve that, either.”
Though he will be remembered for his decades in the broadcast booth and the World Series championship he helped the St. Louis Cardinals win in 1946 as a 20-year-old rookie, Joe Garagiola was talented beyond baseball.
From The Associated Press:
“Garagiola entertained audiences for 58 years with a sharp sense of humor and a seemingly endless trove of stories. Popular with those who followed sports and those who didn’t, his personality transcended games and landed him a pair of stints on the Today show, a slot as a guest host in Carson’s seat on The Tonight Show, spots as a game-show host and almost a decade on Westminster dog show telecasts.”
Garagiola is remembered as a friendly man and wonderful storyteller. Bob McManaman of AZCentral.com recalled how Garagiola reached out to him as a young reporter, making him feel fit in. McManaman also remembers Garagiola on a mission to rid baseball of tobacco.
As he retires, Joe Garagiola says he wants to spend more time with his wife of 63 years, Audrey.