Yesterday morning, Rich Dubroff of baltimorebaseball.com reported that Joe Angel, the voice of the Orioles on the radio, would not be returning for the upcoming season. He won’t be returning to the broadcast booth and the announcement seemed to stun and sadden Orioles fans. Angel has not yet publicly made a statement announcing his retirement, however, with the news breaking yesterday, one has to believe it was stated in some capacity.
Angel, 71, has been a broadcaster for 42 years. His baseball broadcasting career began in 1977, calling games for the San Francisco Giants. He has called games for a few other teams around the league, but most notable to us of course, are his separate tenures calling the Orioles. He’s also broadcast games for the Minnesota Twins (1984-1986), the New York Yankees (1991) and was the first radio broadcaster for the Florida Marlins in 1993.
In 1997, when the Marlins won their first World Series Championship, it was Joe Angel’s voice that was heard announcing their first title on the radio. Talking with Fox Sports South, a few years back, Angel said, “This is where the Marlins were in the win column; that’s where it was born. In 1997 – five years after they were born – I got to say they were in the biggest win column of them all.”
On three separate occasions, Angel has been the voice of the Orioles. He first started broadcasting games in Baltimore in 1988. Coincidentally enough, his first season was the Orioles’ worst. “FINALLY in the win column,” he announced, as the Orioles shut out the Chicago White Sox 9-0.
Speaking with Rich Dubroff about that fateful 1988 season, Angel recounted how the team was no longer a national story after picking up their first victory. “They ended that miserable losing streak, and all the reporters disappeared after that because it was no longer a national story. The day they won, it was like chaos in the clubhouse after the game because it was such a big story.”
Following the 1988 season, Angel spent two more years broadcasted the Orioles before deciding to head north to call games for the Yankees. He returned for the inaugural season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, then packed his bags and headed south for eight seasons with the Marlins. He returned to Baltimore radio in 2004 where he has remained for the past 15 seasons.
Plenty of bad baseball games were called by Angel for the Orioles throughout his final stint with the team. In 2014 though, when the Orioles captured the American League East title after 17 years, Angel spoke words that will send chills through your entire body.
“Goins back in. Hunter takes a look. Still looking, now he says yes and now he’s ready. And he delivers… Goins. Ground ball, first base. Pearce got it, he will run over, he will take the out himself, and i’ll be darned! THE ORIOLES HAVE DONE IT! THEY HAVE DONE IT! It took seventeen years, but on this Tuesday night, September 16, 2014, the Orioles are back in the eastern division win column. THEY ARE THE CHAMPIONS and they do it with their 91st win, CHAMPAGNE FOR EVERYBODY!”
If you were listening to that broadcast on the radio, his iconic call gave you the ability to envision exactly what was happening on the field. Such was the case for every game he was a part of. One of the most exciting moments in Orioles history was broadcast by Angel. Delmon Young drove in three runs in the eighth inning of game two of the 2014 American League Division Series and it was pandemonium.
“Here it comes. Delmon, LINE DRIVE, left field heading for the corner. It’s a base hit. It goes right past Martinez. One run is in! Two runs are in! Here’s Hardy! Here’s the relay… the tag… SAFE AT THE PLATE! DELMON YOUNG, A DOUBLE WITH THE BASES LOADED! HE DRIVES IN THREE AND THE ORIOLES HAVE GONE AHEAD IN THE EIGHTH INNING!”
Joe Angel’s recognizable calls will sorely be missed in the broadcast booth. Although we won’t get to hear him, “wave that baby bye-bye,” we’ll still remember all the times he brought us the “lovely totals,” and put the Orioles, “in the WIN column!”