Legendary Major League Player, Broadcaster Tim McCarver Dies at 81

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Tim McCarver died at the age of 81 Thursday in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn.  

The cause of death was heart failure. McCarver was a two-time All-Star catcher and two-time World Series champion with the St. Louis Cardinals, and made stops in Philadelphia, Montreal, and Boston during his 21-year major league career. 

McCarver retired to the broadcast booth after the 1980 season, and called 24 World Series and 20 All-Star Games for ABC, FOX, and CBS during his broadcasting career. McCarver broadcasted local games for the Phillies (1981-82), New York Mets (1983-98), Yankees (1999-2001), and San Francisco Giants (2002), and was Jack Buck’s play-by-play partner on national telecasts with CBS in 1990 and 1991 and then with his son, Joe Buck, on FOX from 1996 to 2013.  

McCarver was inducted in 2010 into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame at Foley’s, the legendary baseball pub in Manhattan, and he received the Ford C. Frick Award during 2012 at the National Baseball Hall Of Fame for his 32 years in the booth. 

McCarver continued to broadcast with the St. Louis Cardinals from 2014 season through 2019. Even though McCarver never formally announced his retirement from the broadcast booth, he never returned to media after the 2019 season because he wanted to protect himself from Covid-19. McCarver hosted “The Tim McCarver Show” from 2000 to 2017, which featured interviews with sports figures from around the world. 

McCarver was in the booth with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer in 1989 when the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake struck minutes before Game 3 of the World Series between the Giants and the Oakland A’s at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. McCarver, who was analyzing Game 2 for ABC when the earthquake struck, could be heard fumbling his words before Michaels broke in and announced that they had witnessed an earthquake. Major League Baseball ended up postponing the World Series, which resumed 12 days later, with Oakland sweeping the Series.

In the 1964 World Series against the Yankees, McCarver shined at the plate, going 11-for-23 with five RBIs and a home run that broke a tied score in the 10th inning of Game 5. McCarver had his most success in catching two of his era’s most difficult pitchers, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. In 1968, with McCarver as his primary battery mate, Gibson posted an astounding 1.12 ERA, which is still a live-ball era record. That same year, Gibson set a World Series record by striking out 17 batters in one game against the Tigers.

McCarver batted .271 with 97 home runs and 645 RBI’s during his 21-year Major League career.  

McCarver is survived by his daughters Kathy and Kelley, and grandchildren Leigh and Beau.

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