Top Ten Indians Announcers

This is the most subjective top ten list ever for Burning River Baseball and it is certainly something that people are passionate about. The Indians have had quite a few memorable announcers including former player favorites (like Bob Feller [1982] and Rocky Colavito [1972]), professional speakers (Mel Allen [1968]) and some guys that just grow on you (Matt Underwood [2000]). None of those announcers are in the Indians top ten.

It's really impossible to say who the best are as it is up to personal opinion and most of the candidates retired long before the oldest available recordings. There are no statistics for announcers, but amount of time spent with the team and awards won will be largely considered in the rankings. There may be a slight emphasis on more modern announcers because of familiarity, but also remember that these men called many more games per season and were under much more scrutiny as their broadcasts reached many more people than ever before.

10. Nev Chandler: Radio 1980-1984
Chandler only called five seasons in the 80's for the Tribe, but won the award for Ohio Sportscaster of the Year in each of those seasons. Of course, he also had the advantage of being the Sports Director for WWWE. He was the radio partner of Herb Score during that time and was celebrated as a very enthusiastic, fan favorite announcer. He left the Indians in 1985 to become the full time Browns announcer, a job he is more remembered for.

9. Ken Coleman: TV 1954-1963
Coleman is most famous as a Red Sox announcer, for which he has been inducted into their team Hall of Fame, but he got his start in Cleveland. Initially, he just called Browns games, but he quickly caught on with the Tribe and called the final Indians World Series appearance from 1954 to 1995 on television. After ten years with the team, Coleman went on to become a beloved announcer for both the Red Sox and Reds.

8. Jack Corrigan: TV 1983,1985-2001
During the 1980's Corrigan was the voice of Cleveland sports on television. In addition to calling Indians games on WUAB, he called a majority of Cavaliers games as well. Like many on the list, Corrigan is from North East Ohio and is a professional broadcaster, getting a degree from Kent State. His 18 years on TV for the Tribe is second most to just Rick Manning. Unlike most of the recent announcers on the list, Corrigan continued calling games after he left Cleveland and is now a radio announcer for the Rockies.

7. Bob Neal: TV 1949,1952-53,1961-63, Radio 1932-44,1947-53
Neal was another multi-sport announcer, as he called Browns games in the 1940's and 1950's while also calling games for the Indians. Neal was another professional, using a very affected voice, which can be heard here. Neal called twenty seasons on and off between TV and radio more combined years than all but four other Indians announcers.

6. Mike Hegan: Radio 1998-2011, TV 1989-2006
Mike Hegan was the son of Indians legend Jim Hegan and the fourth longest tenured announcer in Indians history, calling 23 seasons between the TV and radio. He is most remembered as the broadcast partner of Tom Hamilton, as the two worked together from 1998 through 2011. There he was a great complement to Hamilton, who did the play-by-play. 

5. Rick Manning: TV 1990-Active
Telling players where to put their sunglasses for the last 24 years (on their face, not on their hats), Manning has called more seasons as a TV analyst than any other announcer in Indians history by more than six years. Likely the greatest player on this list, Manning is also a stellar color man on the broadcast. Unlike many "professional" announcers, Manning brings his calls to the people, using his natural voice and keeping a very down to Earth style. A talented man all around, Manning was not only a player and announcer, but has also been used as a base running coach by the Indians.

4. Herb Score: Radio 1964-67, TV 1968-97
Score was the Indians longest tenured announcer and even though he went a little wacky at the end, he should be remembered for his great years like this call in 1981:

Score quickly made the transition from superstar pitcher to announcer, then quickly progressed from TV to radio, where being a great announcer is so much more important (each of the top four announcers were radio broadcasters). Score called games along the greats, like Neal, Chandler and Tait and stuck around longer than all of them. While he never got to the World Series as a player, he did get to call two for the Indians, in 1995 and before retiring in 1997.

3. Jack Graney: Radio 1932-44, 1947-53
Graney was the Indians first official radio announcer in 1932 and was the longest tenured (at 20 years) until Score surpassed him in the 1990's. In addition, Graney was the first player that became a broadcaster after a successful career with the Indians as outfielder and lead-off hitter. He was beloved by those who listened to games in the forties and considered one of the greatest radio announcers of all time. He was the first announcer elected to the Cleveland Indians Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Cleveland Press Hall of Fame in 2010.

2. Jimmy Dudley: Radio 1948-1967
In an age when former players were taking over the airwaves, Dudley was a professionally trained radio man and a great one. Dudley had the advantage of calling games for the Tribe during the most exciting time in Indians history, from 1948 through 1955. His 19 seasons as the Indians primary radio announcer are the seventh most in franchise history and he had more than a long tenure. In 1997, Dudley was given the Ford C. Frick award, inducting him into the broadcasting wing of the baseball Hall of Fame. He is the only full time Indians announcer to receive this honor. He is also one of just two announcers in the Indians Hall of Fame and the only one that was never a player. He won the Ohio Sportscaster of the Year award in both 1959 (it's inaugural season) and 1967.

1. Tom Hamilton: Radio 1990-Active
There is little question of who is the current greatest Indians broadcaster and most likely the greatest in Indians history. Unlike many of the announcers on this list, Hamilton was never a player and is a very professional broadcaster. Bringing something extra because he is on radio, Hamilton can make any play exciting, no matter what team it benefits. He is universally recognized as a fantastic radio personality and has won more Ohio Sportscaster of the Year Awards (6, including the one for 2013) than any other Indians announcer, impressive as his career has run alongside Marty Brennaman of Cincinnati who has won 15 over his career. If ever there was a reason to mute the TV and put on the radio, it was Tom Hamilton.

Borderline: John Sanders (1990-2006), Harry Jones (1961-1977), Joe Tait (1973-1987), Matt Underwood (2000-present), Tom Manning (1929-31, 1956)

In remembrance of Mike Hegan (1932-2013)

 

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

Quantcast