Hall of Fame Broadcaster Dick Enberg passes away
LA JOLLA – Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg, whose career spanned six decades and concluded in 2016 as the San Diego Padres primary play-by-play television broadcaster, was being mourned today. Enberg died Thursday at his La Jolla home from a possible heart attack, his wife Barbara told the San Diego Union-Tribune. He was 82.
Enberg appeared to be waiting for a car that was set to take him to Lindberg Field for a 6:30 a.m. flight to Boston when he was stricken, his wife said. Enberg retired as the San Diego Padres primary play-by-play television broadcaster following the 2016 season, his seventh with the team.
“We are immensely saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg,” Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler and managing partner Peter Seidler said in a statement. “Dick was an institution in the industry for 60 years and we were lucky enough to have his iconic voice behind the microphone for Padres games for nearly a decade. “On behalf of our entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Barbara, and the entire Enberg family.”
Enberg did call one more game, matching the team he grew up rooting for, the Detroit Tigers, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, in 2017. Enberg received the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting, in 2015. He had earlier received similar awards from the Basketball and Pro Football halls of fame. Enberg was a member of the National Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Enberg received 14 Emmy awards, nine Sportscaster of the Year awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Ronald Reagan Media Award and the Victor Award, recognizing the top sportscaster of the past 40 years. Enberg was born Jan. 9, 1935, in the Detroit suburb of Mount Clemens, Michigan and raised in nearby Armada. He began his broadcasting career as a student at Central Michigan University, where he graduated in 1957. He later earned a master’s degree and a doctorate from Indiana University where he also taught health education classes and broadcast both football and basketball games. Enberg then became a professor and assistant baseball coach at San Fernando Valley State College, now Cal State Northridge. He began his full-time broadcasting career in 1965 in Los Angeles, as the sportscaster on KTLA-TV Channel 5’s newscasts. He was the radio play-by-play broadcaster on Los Angeles Rams games from 1966-1977 and the main television and radio play-by-play broadcaster for the California Angels from 1969-78. Enberg was the broadcaster on KTLA’s telecasts of UCLA basketball games from 1966-77, a position he said “was absolutely responsible for NBC hiring me.”
“The people at NBC were aware that I was an announcer for the Angels and Rams, but it was UCLA that got me the job,’ Enberg told the Los Angeles Times in a 2007 interview. Enberg would continue to refer to the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden as, “The greatest man I’ve ever known other than my own father.” Enberg was hired by NBC in 1975, calling eight Super Bowls, nine Rose Bowls, six Final Fours, the 1982 World Series, four Olympic Games, Wimbledon and the French Open. He moved to CBS in 2000, announcing NFL games, college basketball, tennis’ U.S. Open and golf. Enberg wrote two books, “Dick Enberg’s Humorous Quotes for All Occasions” and his autobiography, “Oh My,” whose title came from his signature broadcasting call.
Enberg also wrote a successful one-man, one-act play, “McGuire,” on his basketball broadcasting partner at NBC, Al McGuire. “All of us at CBS Sports are saddened to hear of the passing of our
friend and colleague Dick Enberg, CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said. “There will never be another Dick Enberg. As the voice of generations of fans, Dick was a masterful storyteller, a consummate professional and a true gentleman. He was one of the true legends of our business. His passion, energy and love for the game will surely be missed.”