Garagiola retires from Diamondbacks booth

February 20, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Garagiola will not be returning to the Arizona Diamondbacks this summer. At a press conference Wednesday, Garagiola said he's retiring. The 87-year-old says he's in good health, but ready to spend more time with his wife.

joe garagiola Joe Garagiola announced his retirement at a press conference at Salt River Fields on Wednesday. (Photo by Christopher Connelly - KJZZ)

After more than 60 years in the baseball business, Garagiola says salaries are bigger, and players are treated better but the game is still the same -- which is fine by him.

"Baseball, it hasn't changed that much," Garagiola said at a press conference at Salt River Fields. "You still have to hit the ball, you still have to catch it and good players will win, and bad players will lose... It's as simple as all that."

Garagiola grew up in St. Louis playing baseball with his childhood friend Yogi Berra, who remains close with.

In 1946, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Garagiola as a catcher. He was 16. He played in the major and was traded to the Pirates, the Cubs and, last, to the Giants.

"This is the fourth team I was traded to when there was only eight in the league," he joked at the press conference. "That told me that I was either wanted, or modelling uniforms. I didn't know which."

He hung up his cleats in 1955 and began his broadcasting career.

Garagiola learned the trade under Harry Caray and a handful of other broadcasting greats. The best broadcasters spend a lot of time prepare, and avoid relying too much on statistics.

"Statistics, to a drunk, are the same as a lamp post -- something to lean on," he said. "You can't just get up there and ad lib."

Garagiola spent the last 15 years with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who will honor him at a home game in April against the Dodgers. 



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