Joe Garagiola

A unremarkable stint in major league baseball led to a celebrated and much-loved second career in broadcasting for Joe Garagiola, who brought humor and insight to three decades as a commentator, announcer and host on ... Read more »
Born: 02/12/1926 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Filmography

Actor (24)

Toots 2007 (Movie)

(Actor)

Father of the Pride 2004 (Tv Show)

Voice

120th Westiminster Kennel Club Dog Show 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Host

Baseball Goes to War 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Today at 40 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

When It Was a Game II 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Voice

1988 World Series 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

55th Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

54th Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

53rd Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Strike It Rich 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Today at 35 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

52nd Annual King Orange Jamboree Parade 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

To Tell the Truth 1969 - 1978 (TV Show)

Actor

The First 50 Years 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Lucas Tanner 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

Today 1966 - 1974 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Memory Game 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A unremarkable stint in major league baseball led to a celebrated and much-loved second career in broadcasting for Joe Garagiola, who brought humor and insight to three decades as a commentator, announcer and host on radio and television. Born Joseph Henry Garagiola on February 12, 1926, he was raised in "The Hill," the predominately Italian-American neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri where another famed catcher, Yogi Berra, grew up across the street from his family. Garagiola was recruited by the St. Louis Cardinals organization at the age of 16, and quickly worked his way up to the Class AA American Association before being called for military service in 1944. After serving in the Philippines during World War II, Garagiola returned to St. Louis, where he made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 1946. He enjoyed a stellar outing as a rookie, batting 6-for-19 in the team's World Series appearance that year, including a 4-for-5 run in Game 4 that helped the Cardinals take the series from the Boston Red Sox. His subsequent career proved less than impressive: he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951, and after playing for both the Chicago Cubs and New York Giants, retired in 1954 with a batting average of .275. During this period, Garagiola was called to testify before a Senate subcommittee on monopoly practices, which alleged that the Anheuser-Busch Company, which owned the Cardinals, was attempting to lure him back to their fold during his stint with the Cubs through their advertising agency, which also represented Garagiola for broadcasting purposes. His response to accusations that the team was "tampering" with his career - "Senator, how can you tamper with a .250 hitter?" - made him not only the unlikely star of the hearings, but led to a steady career as a radio broadcaster, first with KMOX in St. Louis with the legendary Harry Caray, and later with NBC radio and television for regular season games and the World Series, which earned him a Peabody Award in 1973. Garagiola's gift for wordplay also made him a welcome guest host on "The Today Show" (NBC, 1952- ) from 1968 to 1973 and "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (NBC, 1962-1992), and a panelist and host on "To Tell The Truth" (CBS/NBC/syndicated, 1956-1978, 1980-1981, 1990-1991, 2000-2001) among many other game shows. Garagiola left baseball broadcasting in 1988 and divided his time between co-hosting the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and color commentary for the Arizona Diamondbacks, whose general manager was his son, Joseph Jr. He retired from broadcasting in 2013 to spend time with his family, and received the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the game that same year. In 2016, Garagiola died in Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of 90.

Milestones

1998

Left NBC to provide color commentary for Arizona Diamondbacks

1973

Won Peabody for broadcasting work

1961

Began 30-year career as broadcaster for NBC TV and radio

1954

Retired from baseball to launch broadcasting career

1951

Traded to Pittsburgh Pirates

1946

Signed with St. Louis Cardinals

Bonus Trivia

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In addition to his sportscasting duties on radio and television, Garagiola hosted "Monitor," an NBC Radio network news program, and "The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola," a pre-game show on NBC TV.

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Strongly opposed chewing tobacco in major league baseball, and often visited spring training camps with oral cancer survivors to speak out against it. 

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Lent his name to the book Baseball is a Funny Game (1960), a ghostwritten collection of humorous stories that helped to establish him as a personality. He later wrote It's Anybody's Ball Game (1980) and Just Play Ball (2007).

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According to his close childhood friend, Yogi Berra, Garagiola was reportedly getting directions by phone to Berra's house, which included Berra's now-infamous line, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

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Testified for Cardinals outfielder Curt Flood in a 1970 court case which opposed the reserve clause, which allowed a team to keep a player's contract after his contract had expired. He later regretted his involvement in the case.

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