Remembering Andy Musser

Plus seven other beloved announcers from Philly’s sports history.

On Monday, Philadelphia lost one of its most memorable voices when 74-year-old Andy Musser passed away. Musser called Phillies games for 26 years and had a number of iconic calls, including Mike Schmidt’s 11th-inning home run against the Expos that eventually sent the Phillies to the 1980 World Series.

Philadelphia has heard many voices echo from the press boxes of the Vet, the Spectrum and the other athletic cathedrals in town. Here are the ones we can’t and won’t forget—as if you need to be reminded.

Bill Campbell
“He made it! He made it! He made it! A dipper dunk! He made it!”
Campbell was the play-by-play man for Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game back in 1962. In addition to two full decades with the Warriors before they headed west, he called games for the Eagles in the ‘50s and ‘60s and worked seven years of games for the Phillies. Then, Campbell added nine years of Sixers games to his already impressive resume.

Merrill Reese
“Midfield … He’s gonna go! DeSean Jackson …”
Big moments may have been a rarity for the Birds this year, but if you need a reminder as to why Merrill Reese is awesome just listen to his call of the Miracle at the New Meadowlands. Reese has been the voice of the Eagles for three decades. He’s the longest tenured NFL broadcaster and has called the team’s only two Super Bowl appearances.

Andy Musser
“He buried it! He buried it!”
Musser joined the Phillies after winning a junior broadcasting contest when he was 18 years old. In addition to his 26 years of service working Phillies games, Musser also called contests for the Eagles and Sixers. Musser learned from Byrum Saam and mentored Chris Wheeler and current Sixers coach Doug Collins.

Gene Hart
“The Flyers win the Stanley Cup! The Flyers win the Stanley Cup!”
Gene Hart was the voice of the Flyers for 29 years. He called the only two Stanley Cup victories in the franchise’s history. He’s worked over 2,000 NHL games including All-Star games and Stanley Cups and gave Philly the infamous, “he shoots, he scores, for a case of Tastycakes Tastykakes” call still used by Jim Jackson. “Good night and good hockey.”

By Saam
“Hello Byrum Saam, this is everybody speaking.”
Byrum Saam broadcasted football games for Villanova, Penn and Temple before catching the eye of the pro baseball teams in town. He worked double-duty—calling games for the Athletics and the Phillies—for 12 seasons. Saam also worked games for the Eagles and the Philadelphia Warriors. Andy Musser’s mentor embodied Philadelphia sports more than any other broadcaster. Saam called Phillies games for 38 years and never got to call a winner.

Dave Zinkoff
“And now, the starting lineup for the PhilaDELphia Seventy-SIXers.”
Zinkoff wasn’t just a staple at America’s Showcase—he also worked games at Shibe Park for the Phillies. He worked Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game and offered the best introduction for any player in the history of the city when, every home game, he announced the arrival of “Julius…The Doctor…Errrrrrrrrving.” Oh, and he’s in the basketball Hall of Fame.

Richie Ashburn
“I’d like to send out a special birthday wish to the Celebre’s twins – Plain & Pepperoni!”
The hat, the glasses, the pipe and his sense of humor made His Whiteness a Philly broadcasting icon. Richie Ashburn was revered by the city of Philadelphia for half of a century. He was one of the greatest players to ever wear a Phillies uniform and—if it’s possible—was nearly as impressive when he traded his bat in for a mic. His Whiteness served more than 30 years in the Phillies booth and was one half of the greatest broadcast team the city will ever hear.

Harry Kalas
“Swing and a long drive! There it is! Number 500! The career 500th home run for Michael Jack Schmidt!”
I was a student at Penn State when Harry Kalas collapsed in the broadcast booth before a Phillies game and died of heart disease. My friends and I skipped class, poured some drinks and watched the Phillies beat the ‘Stros Nats that day. We watched the game on mute. Kalas was and is the benchmark for broadcasters in this town. Whether he was telling us that Chase Utley was the man, calling the last out of the World Series or singing High Hopes, Harry Kalas will always be remembered as the voice of Philadelphia.

  • rxj222

    Fist of all they didn’t beat the ‘stros the day Harry Kalas died, they beat the Nationals. Second of all how can someone young enough to have never heard half these guys announcing write this article. How the hell do you know how good By Saam and Bill Campbell were. Shouldn’t someone who actually listened to them during their careers be writing this aticle? Everyone remembers Harry dying in the booth in Washington but you somehow watched them beat the ‘stros? Pretty poor

  • http://www.facebook.com/hoyboy Greg

    Wow. Tough crowd.

  • richfox8

    Man, you nailed it! These announcers made Philly sports something special. Bill Campbell, By Saam, Richie Ashburn (my first sports hero), and Les Keiter inspired me to become a sportscaster. And speaking of Les Keiter, truly worthy of your list, let’s hear it for “a ringtail howitzer” and “in again, out again, Finnigan”, not to mention “tickles the twine”. Thanks for the memories.

  • dbriz

    Late to this and probably unnoticed but…Gene Kelly was the voice of the Phillies for 10 years until health and politics grounded him. He was a terrific announcer who deserves to be remembered. Those of us who listened to him during the 1950 seson will never forget him. He replaced the popular (and outstanding) By Saam when the A’s and Phillies decided to do road and home games. It was tough duty and Gene never missed a beat.