|Subject: Sports Announcers Piece|
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 2002
From: Bruce ____ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nice piece, but obviously you're just a bit too young to remember the best Boston announcer ever in any sport -- the guy whose voice made Heinsohn sound like Pavarotti and Heinsohn's non-PC conduct and "homerisms" seem like Bible readings. And though he's only been gone a decade or so, he's already forgotten, it appears.
I write, of course, of the legendary Johnny Most, the ugliest person ever to announce a major league sporting event and possibly the best, most entertaining, most beloved sports announcer in greater Boston in the 20th century. An unmitigated homer, a man of limited hygiene and interesting personal habits, the man who set fire to Glenn Ordway on the air, As far as I know, he's the only sports announcer to ever have a greatest hits album (issued around 1971, I think, and titled of course, "Havlicek stole the ball").
When Johnny died, WEEI did a retrospective of his game calls set to music, and when they ended it with "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!" I saw a few grown men with tears in their eyes. I say "a few," because my own vision was blurred as well, and in my mind I was seeing a thousand glorious basketball moments set to the gravelly, raspy, downright whiny -- and beautiful, passionate and knowledgeable -- voice that was the Celtics for so many years. I used to time my long winter rides home from Framingham to Hartford on Celtics game nights so I could listen to Johnny. Even when the Celts were bad, Johnny made the games worthwhile. Kevin McHale used to joke that Johnny should have received the Sixth Man award for his efforts on the team's behalf, including unforgettable, repeated, ranting descriptions of opposing players as "thugs," and officials as "thieves."
So if you ever again want to talk about New England (OK, Boston -- how many Whalers announcers can anyone remember?) -- sports announcers and memories, make sure to include The Most. It would be a shame to have him forgotten.