Sad news for long time Astros fans: broadcaster Milo Hamilton has passed away at age 88.
Hamilton, the Ford Frick Award winner in 1992, got his start in the majors in 1953, calling St. Louis Browns games. He didn’t go to Baltimore in 1954, but stayed in St. Louis. He had short stints calling games for the Cardinals, the Cubs and then the White Sox.
He then moved on to Atlanta, where he lasted a decade. He called Hank Aaron’s 715th homer, but was fired a year later after criticizing the team’s poor attendance. The man didn’t lie, but then as now, teams don’t much like honesty about such things from their announcers. Which is a shame, but that’s the business. He’d move on to the Pirates and then back to the Cubs for a spell.
His longest and most successful tenure in the business came in Houston, where he called games from 1984 through 2012. A generation of fans who came of age with those nice mid-80s Astros and on through the Biggio-Bagwell years came to think of Hamilton as the voice of the Astros in ways he was never truly the top guy with his previous employers. He spent 59 seasons behind the microphone at Major League games, 28 of those with the Astros.
Every team has “their guy” in the broadcast booth. Hamilton was the Astros’ guy. Good travels, Milo, wherever it is you go from here.
UPDATE: Rob Manfred just released a statement regarding the death of Milo Hamilton:
“During his 60 years covering our game, Milo became one of the National Pastime’s most distinguished announcers, serving seven different Major League Clubs. He chronicled some of our game’s most historic moments during the era of Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Ernie Banks. As ‘The Voice of the Astros’ since 1985, he ushered into the homes of fans Houston’s first World Series appearance, the Hall of Fame careers of Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio, and countless other memories.
“I enjoyed spending time with Milo during my trip to Houston earlier in this resurgent season for the Astros, and it was a pleasure to correspond with him in recent months. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Milo’s family, friends, admirers throughout the game and to all Astros fans.”