By Kurt Crowley:
Over the past 50 seasons, the Milwaukee Brewers have featured an impressive array of broadcasters on both television and radio. An obvious icon tops the list, but others became prominent in the franchise’s history as many made their mark with national work and other assignments.
The top-ten lists includes those in a television and/or radio capacity. Other names are worthy of mention.
10. Lane Grindle (2016-present) - I first heard Lane on a Nebraska baseball game against the University of Pacific. Grindle spent a half-inning detailing the Stockton, California location of the school. I found his work entertaining and believed he was capable of bigger and better things That came to fruition when Grindle was named to join Jeff Levering for the majority of away broadcasts in 2016. An Iowa native and University of South Dakota graduate, Grindle spent 10 years with the Husker Sports Network for football and baseball broadcasts - and also served as football public address announcer in 2015. In addition to his smooth call, Grindle and Levering oftentalk pop-culture during broadcasts. The only way I see Grindle leaving the Brewers is if the Kansas City Royals came calling.
9. Jim Paschke (1987-1991, 1995-1996) - Previously a fill-in on television, Paschke and Mike Hegan immediately became remembered for calling Juan Nieves no-hitter in Baltimore on April 15, 1987. Without mentioning the obvious depiction on TV graphics, Paschke displayed increased excitement as Nieves closed on history. Today, Paschke is known for his play-by-play work with the Milwaukee Bucks, a role held since 1986.
8. Bill Schroeder (1995-present) - The catcher on the receiving end of Nieves’s 1987 no-hitter, Schroeder has now been a fixture as television commentator for a generation, working with Rory Markus, Matt Vasgersian, Brian Anderson and others. Schroeder underwent surgery after the 2019 season to receive a new heart valve and was originally scheduled for a reduced workload before the 2020 season was shortened. A Clemson University graduate, one of Schroeder’s best bits is knowing remote locations of the nightly ‘Tavern of the Game.’
. Jeff Levering (2015-present) - Part of a Division III championship team at California’s Chapman College in 2003, Levering decided broadcasting to be his best baseball career route. After stints with minor league teams including AAA Pawtucket, Levering became MLB’s second youngest announcer at age 31 and called back-to-back-to-back home runs in one of his first broadcasts. During the off-season, the dapper Levering is often be seen on Big Ten basketball broadcasts.
6. Jim Powell (1996-2008) - One of baseball’s more outspoken announcers, Powell became Bob Uecker’s sidekick after previous work with the Minnesota Twins. Powell left Milwaukee to join the Atlanta Braves, 2020 will mark his 12th year with the organization he grew up listening to as a youth. One of Powell’s best lines came on Opening Day in 2003 when he opined on Randy Johnson’s contract extension with the Arizona Diamondbacks and suggested that Johnson 'could now maybe buy himself a personality'. Powell and broadcast partner Don Sutton tore apart Carlos Gomez in 2013 after he incited a brawl with histrionics following a home run. On Brewers radio, Bob Uecker made the same point with his trademark ‘I don’t know what’s going on here..’
5. Matt Vasgersian (1997-2001) - A one-time child actor, Vasgersian’s kept fans entertained during the Brewers low points in the final years of Milwaukee County Stadium. His many memorable home run calls included an early-season weekend in 2001 when Geoff Jenkins belted five long balls against the Montreal Expos. Vasgersian left the Brewers for a similar role in San Diego for seven years and now has a national presence with MLB Network and ESPN. Vasgersian is also featured on San Diego Studio ‘MLB: The Show’ video game series.
4. Merle Harmon (1970-1979) - One of broadcasting’s consummate professionals, Harmon worked with the Milwaukee Braves in 1964-65 and returned to call the Brewers first game at County Stadium in 1970, becoming Bob Uecker’s first sidekick a year later. One of Harmon’s other gigs involved college basketball with TVS and NBC Sports. In 1980 Harmon asked for a month off so he could work the Summer Olympics in Moscow for NBC and was turned down, leading to his departure. Harmon was also known for his tenure with the New York Jets, including the franchise’s Super Bowl III win. Harmon’s non-broadcast endeavors included ‘Merle Harmon’s Fan Fair’, a sports apparel shop long before on-line shopping and Fanatics existed.
3. Pat Hughes (1984-1995) - Hughes worked alongside Bob Uecker for 12 years before he embarked on his current tenure as radio voice for the Chicago Cubs. An ironman in the industry, Hughes managed to work around three throat surgeries in 2017. A San Jose State University alum, Hughes other endeavors include the production of ‘Baseball Voices’ - narrating the careers other baseball broadcasters. Hughes also performed voiceover work for a memorabilia company in 2019. Hughes is overdue for an induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame broadcasting wing.
2. Brian Anderson (2007-present) - After earlier work with the Golf Channel and the San Antonio Spurs, Anderson’s career blossomed after joining the Brewers
TV broadcasts in 2007. Anderson’s other work includes MLB on TBS playoff games, NBA and March Madness, and the 2020 ‘The Match’ with Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson/Peyton Manning/Tom Brady. Anderson squeezes in as many Brewer broadcasts as possible along with his other assignments.
1. Bob Uecker (1971-present) - There are not many individuals who stay 50 years with one job, counting his playing days ‘Mr. Baseball’ has been associated with Milwaukee baseball since 1956. To most people outside Wisconsin, Uecker is known for his appearances with Johnny Carson, the movie ‘Major League’ and the long-running Miller Lite ad campaign. Locally, Uecker is first known for calling baseball through thick and thin. You can turn on
The car radio mid-game and know the tenure of the game simply on his inflection. Uecker is as much of Milwaukee baseball history as Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Robin Yount and Paul Molitor. Even during a pandemic, Uecker remains a constant and is scheduled to call the Brewers 30-game home schedule in 2020.
Very Honorable Mentions
Mike Hegan (1982-1986) - A long-time major leaguer and first Brewer to hit for the cycle, Hegan did off-season work for Channel 4 in Milwaukee while
still active as a player. Hegan worked on Brewers television until he joined the Cleveland Indians, his father’s ball club, in 1989. He called games with Wisconsin native Tom
Hamilton until 2011. Hegan’s business endeavors in Milwaukee included ‘Mike Hegan’s Field of Dreams’, a batting cage and instructional facility.
Tom Collins (1970-1972) - Someone I grew up thinking they actually named a drink for, Collins worked for the Milwaukee Braves along with being part of the Brewers 1970 radio and TV broadcast team. Collins cut his teeth as a polka and country music announcer before matriculating to Milwaukee. Collins died in 2017 at the age of 95.
Matt Lepay (2014-present) - Despite being associated with University of Wisconsin Athletics since the 1990s, Lepay is actually a graduate of Ohio State University. Lepay has worked as a fill-in on television broadcasts since 2014.
Cory Provus (2009-2011) - After being part of Chicago Cubs broadcasts, Provus replaced Jim Powell in 2009 and worked three years before landing a lead role with the Minnesota Twins. Provus also does many Big Ten Network basketball broadcasts, usually involving the University of Minnesota.
Joe Block (2012-2015) - To date just about everyone, one of Block’s social media covers showed him as a teenager in front of Milwaukee County Stadium. The appearance of logos
for National League teams narrows the time frame to around 1998-99. A Michigan native, Block joined the Pirates broadcast team in 2016, his wife Bethany
hails from the Pittsburgh area.
Rory Markus (1992-1994) - On television broadcasts for three years, Markus returned to his native Southern California and became radio voice of the Anaheim Angels and called the
franchises 2002 World Series title. In 2008 Markus underwent surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain, and was found dead in his home on Jan. 4, 2010 at age 54.
Dwayne Mosely (1982-1983) - For nearly forever Brewers radio has been provided by flagship WTMJ radio. And exception was in 1981-82 when rival WISN was awarded the radio contract. A sports director at that station, Mosely became part of the Brewers broadcasts for two seasons. With Bob Uecker assigned to ABC television’s post-game coverage, Mosely called the final out of the Brewers 1982 American League Championship.
Lorne Brown (1980-1981) - More known as playing straight man to broadcast partners Harry Carey and Jimmy Piersall with the Chicago White Sox, Brown became Uecker’s broadcast partner for two seasons following Merle Harmon’s departure.
Ray Scott (1976-1977) - Iconic for his television work with Green Bay Packers and the National Football League, Scott worked the Brewers 40-game television schedule for two years. His style of letting pictures tell the story did not work on baseball as well as it did for football. Also worked for the Minnesota Twins for much of the 1960s.
Steve Shannon (1981-1986) - In 1981 the Brewers separated the radio and television rights, along with the announcers who called them. The organization went into the Los Angeles market and hired a pair of unknowns to Wisconsinites, Shannon and Kent Derdivanis called an increased schedule of road games which included West Coast games for the first time. WVTV television also carried the 1982 American League Championship Series on a feed separate from ABC television, with Shannon on the call for the pennant clinching victory.
Sophia Minnaert (2014-present) - A on-field reporter on Brewers telecasts, Minnaert gets points for her professionalism along with the ability to translate to viewers on interviews with
Joe Castiglione (1981) - A fixture with the Boston Red Sox since 1983, Castiglione cut his teeth calling Brewers games on a pay-TV service known as Select TV, which carried
part of the Brewers home schedule.