MLB legend and broadcaster Garagiola dies

Posted at 5:33 PM, Mar 23, 2016

Baseball legend and long-time broadcaster Joe Garagiola, Sr. died on Wednesday. Garagiola was 90-years-old.

A former catcher, Garagiola played in nine MLB seasons and was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals' 1946 World Series championship team. He was a lifelong friend of fellow catcher Yogi Berra.

Garagiola made the jump in the broadcast booth in the mid-50s, when he called Cardinals games. After that, he spent nearly three decades calling games on TV for NBC Sports. He became one of the defining voices of baseball on NBC's Game of the Week. He also worked as a panelist on The Today Show, occasionally guest-hosted the Tonight Show and hosted a number of game shows.

Garagiola called games for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1998-2012. His son, Joe Garagiola, Jr., is the former general manager of the D-backs and the current MLB senior vice president of standards and on-field operations.

In 2009, the broadcast wing and TV booth at Chase Field was named in Garagiola's honor. 

"Joe was so special to everyone at the D-backs and had an aura about him that you could feel the moment you met him," D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said in a statement.

"Those of us who were lucky enough to know him personally were profoundly aware that the lovable personality that fans saw on TV was only surpassed by who he was in person and the way he treated everyone around him."

Garagiola was also politically active. He supported the re-election campaign of President Gerald Ford in 1976. In recent years, he advocated against the use of chewing tobacco.

In 2013, Garagiola received the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award by the Baseball Hall of Fame for his contributions to pro baseball.

Garagiola is survived by his wife Audrie, three children, including WDIV-TV Detroit anchor/reporter Steve Garagiola, and eight grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held in Garagiola's hometown of St. Louis, and a local memorial will be held in Arizona at a later date, the D-backs announced.