Jack Buck, ASA Hall of Famer and St. Louis Cardinals Announcer, Talks Sportscasting


The following is an interview of ASA Hall of Famer and longtime St. Louis Cardinals announcer Jack Buck by ASA President Lou Schwartz at the Sports Emmy Awards Dinner on April 26, 2000.

Lou Schwartz: Do you remember the first time you were asked to do a broadcast?

Jack Buck: Well it was 1949 when I was still in college working at the school station. Then I got a job commercially while I was still in school in 1950 and that was the first year I did baseball. Then I did football, basketball, bowling, wrestling, boxing soccer and you name it.

LS: How much money were you payed?

JB: I remember one year I was doing AAA baseball by myself and Ohio State football and basketball. I did five morning shows a week plus two sports shows in the evening and I made $100 a week.

LS: Do you remember when you got your first big break?

JB: I went to the Polo Grounds in New York to do a game and it was a telecast back to St. Louis. This turned out to be an audition for the Cardinals job and that's how I got it. I joined Harry Caray in 1954 and I was with him for 16 years. Then Harry went to Chicago and I've stayed in St. Louis ever since doing baseball. That's 46 years now. 50 years in baseball, 46 of those in St. Louis.

LS: Is there any single event that is the most memorable?

JB: There have been a lot of them for me but I think one that the people would know about was the Ice Bowl up in Green Bay. Ray Scott, Frank Gifford, Tom Brookshire and I did the game when it was 15 below zero and we almost froze to death. Green Bay beat Dallas in the playoffs and got into the Super Bowl.

LS: Of all the cities you have traveled to, which is your favorite city?

JB: St. Louis

LS: That's not fair. Other than St. Louis.

JB: Okay, here are my favorite cities: San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Boston. Of course everything is centered around New York. I'm not really a New Yorker but I love the action over here.

LS: Well we'd love to have you. Tell me, over the years what athlete have you found to be the most cooperative?

JB: Mr. Stan Musial. I don't think there is anyone in any sport who combined the supreme talent with a great personality. He is also is one of the most beautiful people who ever walked the face of the earth. I don't think there's anybody who compares to Stan Musial on both fronts.

LS: I remember he made the presentation to you when you were inducted into the ASA Hall of Fame.

JB: We live about a quarter-mile away from each other. We play golf together in the summertime and he and I and Red Schoedienst are the best of friends, and they are great friends to have.

LS: What would you like to be remembered for the most?

JB: I don't think there's any player in any sport that can walk up to me and punch me in the nose for something I said that wasn't correct or was unfair. I think that's the most outstanding trait of the work that I did. I was fair to both the athlete and the listener.

LS: I understand that you will be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award tonight and your son, Joe, is nominated for an Emmy in the Sports Personality/Play-by-Play category. What can you say about your son?

JB: Well, the very fact that he has been nominated is terrific. He's in with some great company with Dick Enberg, Bob Costas and Al Michaels. It would be wonderful if he won it and someday I think he will. Maybe tonight. But even if he doesn't win the award, we already know he's one of the best in the business. And just as I talked about Musial combining his talent and personality, the same thing is true about Joe Buck. He combines a wonderful talent with a wonderful personality. He's great with people and he is, to me, the Stan Musial of broadcasting.

LS: This question is for your wife. What do you think is one your husband's finest traits?

Mrs. Buck: There are many traits that make him great. Let me name a few. He makes the best out of any situation he is handed. He's funny and true. What you see is what you get and most of all, he is a wonderful father and husband.

 

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