Tuesday, November 11, 2008

RIP - Herb Score

Herb Score has died at the age of 75.

While Score probably isn't really known outside of Ohio, but he was the main color commentator/analyst for the Cleveland Indians radio broadcasts across 35 seasons after being forced to retire early when he took a line drive straight to the face (only 2 years after finishing his rookie year 16-10). He was, quite simply, the best radio color commentator I've ever heard, providing equal parts remarkable, detailed analysis, great stories, and insightful comments alongside radio partner Tom Hamilton (who continues to do Indians' broadcasts). In the days when you couldn't expect to catch many Indians games on television (before the dawn of 1700 cable channels, one of which would have a game every week), Herb Score was a constant in my life as we listened to him and Hamilton work their magic on the airwaves. Score saw some truly terrible baseball in his time with the Indians, but he never lost his sense of humor or perspective on life. In an era when whiny, obnoxious, "it's not fair!" broadcasters are the norm (see: Cincinnati's radio broadcast), Score (and Hamilton) were paragons in their field, commenting on clearly terrible strike zones or bad calls, but also blaming the Indians if they weren't playing well.

My favorite example of Score's knowledge/humility combo was one night way back when (I can't remember the exact year). One of the Indians' pitchers had thrown a sinking ball that sunk so much, it bounced before it hit home plate. Hamilton was joking, asking Score what happened if a player hit it. Score told Hamilton that not only is it still in play, if a pitcher hit a homer off a pitch like that, it would stand. Hamilton, joking, asked if Score had ever seen that in all his years, and Score said he had. Incredulous, Hamilton said, "Really? Who threw the pitch?" Score suddenly grew very quiet, and bashfully said...


Rest in peace, Herb. Thousands of Indians fans have missed you since you retired, and your death is a true loss for generations in the Indians family.