We were all saddened when we learned of the passing of longtime Kansas City Royals play-by-play announcer Fred White. Fred was as much of summer as swimming in the NKC pool, trips to visit my sister Judy in Las Vegas and a day at Worlds of Fun.
Growing up with a desire to be a play-by-play announcer, and later running the board for Royals games at KLEX in Lexington, Missouri, I learned so many things from Fred White. He taught many future announcers how to broadcast a game in a professional manor.
Fred White, you will be missed.
Thinking of Fred’s broadcast led me to recall several other voices of my youth.
The first sport I ever followed on radio was football as Tom Hedrick did play-by-play and Bill Grigsby color for the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom transported fans from their living rooms to the Wolfpack section at Municipal Stadium during Chiefs games.
Grigsby was a Kansas City guy who brought color to the title color commentator.
During my time as voice of Avila University athletics I loved games vs. Baker University and conversations with Tom (now the voice of Baker sports) as he would re-live Chiefs games of a bygone era.
Hockey has always been my favorite sport and the first voice over a frozen pond I listened to on a regular basis was Lynn Faris, who called Kansas City Blues games, along with Dick Wall, from 1967-1972.
My first season as an avid hockey fan was the 1971-72 campaign.
I recall Faris describing Dallas Black Hawks defenseman Roger Wilson being so big he didn’t wear shoulder pads because a pair his size didn’t exist. During another broadcast Faris said “A stick goes flying in the air…..so does Keogan, who continues to wear a helmet.” In those days very few hockey players wore headgear. Blues forward Murray Keogan was forced by an injury to put on a lid and continued to wear it after he was healed.
Lynn called Blues games on 680 KFEQ (St. Joseph) from a loft above the west goal at the American Royal Arena. He was seated next to organist Harry Rupp, who could be heard playing O Canada and the Star Spangled Banner on the radio before every Blues broadcast. If memory serves me correctly the Blues and Dallas Black Hawks were the only teams in the CHL to play both national anthems during the 1971-72 season.
Calling a game from the Will Rogers Coliseum in Fort Worth, Faris described the barn as having seats next to the glass. He went on to say “Every building in the CHL has seats on the glass…….except for Kansas City.” I wonder if that was a call to Kansas City to build a new arena.
As a young hockey fan I would also scan the AM dial listening to broadcasts of other teams like the St. Louis Blues, with Dan Kelly at the mike, the Minnesota North Stars, Atlanta Flames and later, from Denver, Rocky Hockey with Norm Jones.
In the daytime my friends and I played street hockey and at night we broke out the rod hockey game.
Whenever the Mavericks hit the ice I am thankful to be doing something I have loved since I was very young.
Thank you Lynn Faris, Fred White, Tom Hedrick and others for setting me on the path I am on now.