The official word: Tim McCarver, who for three decades has been baseball’s premier television analyst, announced today that he is stepping down from his lead MLB on FOX position upon conclusion of this season’s World Series.
“I’ve informed FOX Sports that I will not seek to extend my contract to broadcast baseball past the 2013 season,” said McCarver. “Although I am neither tired of broadcasting baseball nor have I in any way lost my interest in baseball, with which I have been associated as a player and broadcaster for 55 years, it’s time to cut back. Since 1996, my time with Joe Buck has been filled with some of the most memorable moments in the game’s magnificent history. I am very proud to have been a part of all the things that make this game so special for all of us who follow it day-to-day, week-to-week and year-to-year. Finally, to the gifted men and women at FOX with whom I’ve worked with over the last 17 years, your work has been exemplary and unmatched. You’re the best in the business and it has been a privilege.”
“Tim’s longevity as a lead network analyst is the result of hard work and his commitment to provide the best, honest analysis possible, and his decision to step down came as a surprise to us,” said FOX Sports Co-President and COO Eric Shanks. "On behalf of everyone at FOX Sports and generations of baseball fans, David (Hill), Ed (Goren), Randy (Freer) and I would like to thank Tim for everything he has done for FOX since 1996 and baseball over the last 55 years. We’re just glad we get to enjoy his friendship and savor his expertise one more season.”
McCarver, whose uninterrupted run as a major league player and broadcaster began in 1959, has worked 28 consecutive MLB postseasons on network television dating back to 1984, providing analysis for a record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games. His voice and spot-on analysis are synonymous with many of baseball’s biggest moments over the last 30 years, earning him wide critical acclaim, three straight Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Sports Event Analyst” (2000-02) and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s 2012 Ford C. Frick Award for his unparalleled broadcast career. McCarver has teamed with Joe Buck, his MLB on FOX play-by-play partner, a record 17 years as the network’s lead national baseball broadcast team. No baseball broadcasting tandem has called more World Series (15) and All-Star Games (14).
"It was my great fortune to be paired with Tim as a kid back in 1996," said Buck. “It gave me instant credibility and helped shaped my career. Tim is the best ever to do what he does, the ultimate professional and the best first-guesser in the history of this business. I have always been proud to call him my partner, and I’m prouder still to call him my friend. I will be forever grateful to him for both parts of our relationship, and I’m going to miss him next year."
A naturally gifted observer and communicator of the game, McCarver is well-known for his uncanny ability to first-guess situations during baseball’s biggest games. Perhaps the best example of his prescience came in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. McCarver, with the bases loaded for the Diamondbacks and the Yankees’ infield playing in, reminded a viewing audience of almost 50 million that closer Mariano Rivera’s cut fastball runs inside to left-handed hitters, often resulting in broken bat hits to the shallow outfield, a danger in this situation. As fate would have it, Luis Gonzalez broke his bat and muscled an inside offering from Rivera over shortstop Derek Jeter’s head, delivering the winning run and Arizona its first and only World Championship.
“Tim McCarver is not only one of the best sports analysts I’ve ever worked with, but more importantly, one of the best I’ve ever heard,” offered News Corp Senior Executive Vice President David Hill, the former Chairman and CEO of FOX Sports Media Group. “McCarver lives up to John Madden’s credo for great sports analysis – the great ones tell you what you’re seeing, but not seeing. The number of times that Tim has said expect this to happen – and it does – is absolutely staggering. In the business it’s known as ‘first-guessing,’ but Tim wasn’t guessing. He just knew what was going to happen and told the viewers. His knowledge and love for the game is going to take a long time to be equaled. He leaves big shoes to fill.”
Former FOX Sports President and Executive Producer Ed Goren, who worked with Tim for 21 years at CBS and FOX, had a similar assessment: “Tim redefined the role of baseball analyst, and in so doing, made first-guessing an art-form. No analyst is more dedicated to providing his audience insight and understanding into the game, and his priority has always been to give his honest opinion based on a career that goes back a remarkable seven decades.”
McCarver has the distinction of being the only MLB analyst to have worked for all four major broadcast networks. He joined FOX Sports in 1996 after a two-year stint as a game analyst for The Baseball Network’s broadcasts on ABC. He returned to ABC in 1994 after four years with CBS Sports, where he also served as lead baseball analyst working the All-Star Game, National League Championship Series and World Series from 1990 to 1993. He teamed with Joe's father Jack Buck in 1990 and 1991, followed by Sean McDonough in 1992 and 1993. During his first stint as an analyst for ABC's baseball coverage (1984-89), McCarver covered the 1984, 1986 and 1988 National League Championship Series, the 1985, 1987 and 1989 World Series, and the 1986 and 1988 All-Star Games. His first network assignment came in the early ‘80s, while still playing, on NBC’s Game of the Week.
"Tim McCarver has chronicled the national pastime on our biggest stages, including a record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games, for a generation of baseball fans,” offered MLB Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “As an analyst, he has always thought like a manager in the dugout, and in the process he helped redefine what sports fans expected from the broadcast booth. Tim has led a remarkable baseball life since signing with the Cardinals in 1959, and all of us at Major League Baseball look forward to joining our partners at FOX Sports in honoring his Hall of Fame career throughout the 2013 season. On behalf of our 30 clubs, I thank Tim for his important contributions to our game over the past seven decades.”
Locally, McCarver began his broadcasting career at WPHL-TV in Philadelphia, where he worked with late broadcasting legends Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn in 1980. Later, McCarver spent 16 seasons as an analyst for New York Mets broadcasts on WWOR, three seasons working New York Yankees games on FOX-owned WNYW, and one year analyzing San Francisco Giants games on KTVU.
In 1959, McCarver signed with the St. Louis Cardinals out of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis. In addition to 12 seasons with the Cardinals, he spent eight-and-a-half years with the Philadelphia Phillies, half a season with the Montreal Expos, and two seasons with the Boston Red Sox. In 21 big league seasons he hit .271 with 97 homeruns and 645 runs batted in.
One of a handful of four-decade players in major league history (1959-80), McCarver played in two All-Star Games (1966, 1967), three League Championship Series (1976-78) and three World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals (1964, 1967 and 1968), winning championships in 1964 and 1967. All three World Series went seven games, with McCarver calling every pitch in all 21 games, hitting .311 with three triples, two homeruns and 11 runs batted in. He was the hottest hitter in the 1964 World Series against the Yankees, leading all regulars with a .478 batting average. His three-run homerun in the tenth inning provided the winning margin in Game 5.
A successful author, McCarver released best-sellers “Diamond Gems” (2008); “Few and Chosen: Defining Cardinal Greatness Across the Eras” (2005); “The Perfect Season” (1999); “Tim McCarver's Baseball For Brain Surgeons And Other Fans: Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro” (1999) and “Oh Baby, I Love It!” (1987). He contributed the foreword to Alex Belth’s “Stepping Up: The Story of All-Star Curt Flood and His Fight for Baseball Players' Rights” (2006); Kelly Laduke’s “All Stars: One Team, One Season” (1996) and Lloyd Johnson’s “The Baseball Timeline - A Chronological History of All the Teams, Stars and Seasons in Major League Baseball” (1992).
McCarver’s nationally-syndicated sports interview program, The Tim McCarver Show, is in its 12th season, and airs in all top 50 markets and more than 90% of the U.S.