A Birthday Present For Marty Brennaman

Jul 28, 2015

Marty Brennaman received the Joe Nuxhall Award of Excellence in Broadcasting from the Joe Nuxhall Character Education Fund Nov. 6, 2014.
Credit John Kiesewetter

As he celebrates his 73rd birthday today, Marty Brennaman sounds as excited as that rookie big league radio announcer who joined Joe Nuxhall in 1974. That’s what made Marty a Hall of Famer.

Reds fans will say he’s best known for his calls of the 1990 World Series, Jay Bruce’s Central Division clinching homer in 2010, or Pete Rose’s hit number 4,192, but to me Marty’s at his best when the Reds are at their worst.  Just listen. Marty and Jeff Brantley or Jim Kelch keep fans laughing and engaged through this awful season. 

Marty has been the soundtrack of our summers for 42 years, and I hope he’s in the Reds Radio booth for many more birthdays to come. He has one more year on his contract, and after the 2016 season he’ll “take stock and decide” how much longer he’ll be our constant summer companion. (I get the impression he won’t challenge the longevity record of Vin Scully, who’s still doing Dodgers games at 87.)

I say it’s time to start planning the ultimate birthday present for a Marty Brennaman – a statue on Crosley Terrace to go with the "Great Eight” from the Big Red Machine. The Tony Perez statue will be added in August, joining Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. Nuxhall is there pitching. Marty should be at the mike outside the stadium, the way the St. Louis Cardinals honored Jack Buck.

Statue of Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck outside Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Credit John Kiesewetter

Marty has told me and others he wants to walk away from Reds Radio without any fanfare or farewell tour. If next year is his last year, we won’t know it until after the last game, he told me earlier this year.

“When I walk away, I’ll let them know the day after the season ends. I don’t want all the (farewell stuff) that goes along with it. I understand they could probably make a lot of money. But whatever they want to do, they’d have to do it the next year, because I’m just not interested in all that stuff. I don’t want to be bothered with it. I don’t need a night. The club and the fans have been good enough to me. I don’t need all that stuff.”

Marty told Bill Cunningham on WLW-AM Monday he doesn't know how much longer he’d do Reds games:

“I have no idea. I have a year to go. I really don’t know. I still love doing the games. I still love sitting down at the Reds Radio microphone with Brantley, or (son) Thom, or Jim, or Doug Flynn or whomever it might be. I’ll be back next year, and then I’ll take stock and decide.”

Marty is the Reds’ last remaining link to the 1975-76 World Champions and Riverfront Stadium, as well as providing memories of Jay Bruce’s walk-off home run to clinch the 2010 Central Division, Ken Griffey Jr.’s 600th homer in 2008 and Tom Browning’s perfect game in 1988.

He deserves to be permanently enshrined on Crosley Terrace with the Big Red Machine…. because this one belongs to the Reds.