Happy birthday, Joe Garagiola

by Bill Chuck on February 12, 2013

Joe Garagiola turns 87 today, the same age as his childhood friend, Yogi Berra.

Baseball is drama with an endless run and an ever-changing cast. Joe Garagiola

Nine to Know

You might know Garagiola as

  1. A catcher for for the Cardinals, Pirates, Cubs, and New York Giants.
  2. Author of Baseball is a Funny Game
  3. Color commentator and play-by-play announcer for the NBC Game of the Week, the Yankees, Angels, and Diamondbacks
  4. Co-host of the Today Show
  5. Guest host of the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
  6. Game show host and host of the telecast of the Westminster Dog Show (and they better wish him birthday tonight on the USA Network telecast)
  7. Republican shill
  8. Strong advocate of the dangers of chewing (smokeless) tobacco. He visits major league teams every year during spring training to warn players about its effects.
  9. Father of Joe Garagiola, Jr., senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for Major League Baseball after being GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks

Joe made his MLB debut on May 26, 1946 as a 20-year old with the Cardinals.
Joe played his final game on September 26, 1954 as a 28-year old with the NY Giants.

Joe played in one World Series, in 1946, and went 6-for-19 (.316) with four RBI in five games. The World Champion Cardinals opponent in that Series were the Boston Red Sox. Ted Williams played in his only World Series that year and went 5-for-25 (.200) with one RBI.

Garagiola was the 1991 winner of the Ford Frick Award, making him a member of the Hall of Fame.

Garagiola and Berra grew up in a section of St. Louis known as The Hill and lived directly across the street from one another at 5447 and 5446 Elizabeth Avenue.

Elizabeth Avenue has been renamed Hall of Fame Place, and sidewalk plaques mark the homes of Berra and Garagiola, and the great Cardinals announcer Jack Buck, who bought a house down the block at the corner of Elizabeth and Macklind when he was broadcasting Cardinals games.

 

Yogi Berra Museum and Learning CenterAs boys Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola played together. Berra is in the middle row in a striped shirt and Garagiola is on the far left in the front row Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center

As boys Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola played together. Berra is in the middle row in a striped shirt and Garagiola is on the far left in the front row

 

I went through baseball as “a player to be named later.”  Joe Garagiola

 

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