Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman wraps up his 46-year run as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday afternoon. The love affair between Reds Country and Marty is second to none.
Over the past 46 years, many players and managers have come and gone through the Queen City, but one person, or voice, has remained a constant since the 1974 series. Marty Brennaman has been the only voice many of us have ever known on the air waves throughout Reds Country. While Marty may not be responsible for any victories on the field, to many fans, he is the Cincinnati Reds.
We should have known that Marty’s career would be like none other from his very first game. On Opening Day at Riverfront Stadium in 1974, Marty began his Reds career behind the mic calling Hank Aaron‘s 714th home run, equaling the MLB record held by Babe Ruth. While most of us are white knuckling our way through the first day of work, Marty was already becoming part of baseball history.
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Along the way, Marty Brennaman called the final out of Tom Browning‘s perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as Jay Bruce‘s walk off home run versus the Houston Astros to clinch the 2010 NL Central Division crown.
However, the final score was only a small part of the story. Two names were synonymous with Reds Country for 31 of the last 46 years; Marty and Joe. The ole left-hander, Joe Nuxhall, was Marty’s partner and dear friend for over three decades.
Listening to Marty and Joe call a game was like listening to a couple of friends talk for three hours with some baseball mixed in for good measure. Once the ole-left hander passed away, it was hard to imagine anyone who could have the same type of chemistry that Marty and Joe had. However, Marty is not only good but he’s also lucky.
Beginning in 2007, Jeff Brantley, ‘The Cowboy’, became Brennaman’s partner. While nobody will replace Joe, Brantley has been the next best thing. The rapport and fun Marty and The Cowboy have is infectious, and while the Cincinnati Reds may struggle in the standings, it’s always a good time tuning in on the radio.
It should go without saying that Marty Brennaman is the last of a dying breed. As Reds Country knows there is one thing that Marty does not do and that’s pander. We all know that Marty wants the Cincinnati Reds to win, but he’s not a cheerleader for the club. He calls it the way he sees it and he’s not afraid to offer his opinion.
Granted, as fans, we may not always like it or agree with it, but Marty has been unafraid to give his two cents. If you ever listen to current play-by-play announcers around the league, you’ll appreciate what a unique gift this is.
On a personal note, I want to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Marty Brennaman. Growing up in Southern Indiana in the 1970’s, Marty and Joe helped cement my love for the Reds that has lasted a lifetime.
In those days, Major League Baseball games were on television twice a week. NBC had the Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons and ABC had Monday Night Baseball during the summer. But Reds Country had Marty and Joe on a nightly basis.
I remember vividly, listening every night during the summer of 1978 as Pete Rose was collecting hits in 44 consecutive games as well as staying up way past my bedtime as the Reds battled their arch nemesis the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Trust me, there was no better way to fall asleep as a kid than hearing Marty Brennaman utter his famous words, “And this one belong to the Reds”, following a victory over Los Angeles from Dodger Stadium.
So this one belong to Marty. A new era in Reds baseball will begin next year and I hope that Reds Country appreciates how good they have had it for nearly half a century. You’ll have to forgive fans if they’ve become spoiled, but there is only one Marty.
Even though he’ll call his final game on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, Marty will always remain one of the most beloved figures in the 150 years of Cincinnati Reds baseball. Ain’t love grand.