“Gentleman, I’m good to go”..Marty Brennaman fighting through emotions after the Reds final home game and his final game as play by play announcer for the Reds told the listening audience after Cincinnati fell to Milwaukee. He spoke of his past broadcast partners, his love for the city of Cincinnati and his love for the fans who allowed him to become their voice of the Reds for 46 seasons.
For 46 seasons Marty was the voice of the Reds to so many. He was the link for fans back to the Big Red Machine through the Wire To Wire Champions of 1990. So many fans started listening to the Reds with their grandfather and would go on to listen with their own children, for those fortunate ones grandpa, son, and grandchild would listen to Marty together.
Marty was on the call for so many moments in baseball history. He has stated that his favorite moment was Pete Rose getting hit number 4192 to pass Ty Cobb on his to becoming the all time hit leader. His first game behind the microphone he saw Hank Aaron tie Babe Ruth for most home runs all time in 1974. He got to call Tom Seaver’s only no-hitter of his career in 1978. He was on the call when Tom Browning pitch the tenth perfect game in major league history against the Dodgers in 1988. He called Ken Griffey Jr’s 500th and 600th career home runs. He called Roy Halladay’s no hitter against the Reds in the 2010 divisional series, only the second postseason no hitter in history. He was on the call for both of Homer Bailey’s no hitters in 2012 and 2013.
He called back to back World Series Championships in 1975 and 1976. Marty saw the Reds make the playoffs 7 times winning three championships.
While behind the microphone Marty has called part of or entire careers of eight hall of fame players. Sparky Anderson was manager of those Big Red Machine teams and was elected to the hall of fame in 2000. Catcher Johnny Bench was elected in 1989 while teammate Joe Morgan was elected in 1990. Tom Seaver was elected in 1992. Tony Perez had to wait longer than his Big Red teammates but he was enshrined in Cooperstown in 2000. Lee Smith played briefly for the Reds and was inducted this year. Ken Griffey Jr came home to Cincinnati in 2000 and elected in the Hall in 2016. He saw Barry Larkin play his entire career for the Reds and become a Hall Of Famer in 2012. He will surely add to this total as many feel Joey Votto will be inducted once his career ends.
Marty witnessed some of the greatest players to ever play and saw some of the best of the Reds players ever. He saw five Reds win the Most Valuable Player award. Joe Morgan won it back to back in 1975 and 1976. George Foster won the award in 1977 giving Cincinnati three consecutive MVPS. Barry Larkin won the MVP in 1995 with Joey Votto winning it 2010. Surprisingly the Reds have never had a CY Young winner in their history.
There will never be another play by play announcer like Marty Brennaman. He was not your typical announcer, he loves the Reds but when they struggled he wouldn’t sugar coat it. That would sometime place him at odds with management and some fans who thought it was his job to be a “homer” for the Reds. Many fans loved the fact that Marty would call the game has he saw it.
During his career he would end every Reds win with “And this one belongs to the Reds!”. Over 46 seasons he would utter that phase 3692 times. In sports there are only a few chosen ones who become immortal, Vin Scully, John Madden, Chick Hearn, Harry Carey, Kieth Jackson, and Cawood Ledford to name few. You can add Marty Brennaman to that short list.
Thank you Marty for being the voice of so many of our childhoods and beyond.