To make it clear, the last 46 years are not about Marty Brennaman.
When the Cincinnati Reds hired Sparky Anderson in 1970, there was a collective gasp as fans wondered who in the heck the new guy was and further speculated if he had what it took to lead the club. When Mary Brennaman took over for Al Michaels in 1974, there was the same raised-eyebrow reaction as he settled into the booth. Who is this guy?
It did not take long for Reds fans to discover who Marty Brennaman was. Marty made it personal. It was all about the fans who lived and died with the success of their baseball team and if the team was struggling, Marty was disappointed. When players refused to hustle or play to their potential, there was Marty pointing out how how more is needed and expected. He pulled no punches and told it like it was, a perfect fit next to the down to earth voice of Joe Nuxhall.
For fans, Marty was a breath of fresh air because he seemed to care just as much as we did. You could hear the excitement in his voice when the team excelled and you could hear the disappointment when they did not. If an umpire made a bad call, Marty called him out saying what he thought. He once was accused of firing up the crowd when a roll of toilet paper landed near an umpire, following a very bad call, and Marty was quick to call that “appropriate.”
Marty was not an announcer, he was a fan and those who followed the Reds loved it.
Marty was the sound of summer. He was there during the great times and the bad times. Following the attacks of 9/11, Marty’s voice helped many to realize that life could go on as the steady, calm and reassuring voice resonated with fans around the world. Fans who were suffering through the worst days of their life, after losing a job or loved one, turned to Marty as a way to be reminded it was okay and life would go on. Marty was more than an announcer, he treated us as a friend and that is why Thursday, September 26th will be such a hard and emotional day as we say goodbye and thank you to the voice of summer.
Every game did not belong to the Reds, but Marty made sure each game belonged to the fans and for that we are eternally grateful.