When the Cincinnati Reds start searching for a successor to Marty Brennaman, they should look down the street at Paul Brown Stadium, where Dan Hoard works.
Brennaman, 75, is starting his 45th season on Reds Radio. The club didn't renew announcer Jim Kelch's contract in November in preparation for "setting up the person who was going to follow him (Brennaman), and I was not that person," Kelch told the Enquirer.
Hoard -- radio voice for the Bengals and University of Cincinnati and former WXIX-TV sports director – knows baseball and loves the game. He started his career as voice of the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs while a student at Syracuse University in New York.
He left Fox 19 in 2006 to pursue his baseball dream. Hoard moved to Boston to do play-by-play for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox. He did games for Boston's minor-league team through 2011, when he came back here to work for the Bengals.
In 2003, Hoard filled in for Brennaman, weaving colorful stories and interesting background on players into his broadcasts seamlessly, without interfering with the flow of the game. I think I may have used the term "Scully like" in my Enquirer column back them, referring to the Dodgers' Vin Scully, who set the standard for baseball radio play-by-play.
As a Syracuse senior, he was hired as the radio voice of the Chiefs, Toronto's Triple-A affiliate in the International League. After the Chiefs season ended, Hoard went to a Blue Jays game in Toronto, and announcers Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth invited him to watch it from their booth. Then they surprised him by asking him to do an inning of play-by-play. So he made his Major League Baseball debut months after graduating from college.
Hoard started his UC play-by-play on television in 1996, then moved to radio in 2000. He commuted from Boston 2006-2011 to keep the gig, while doing Pawtucket baseball.
He's always well prepared and asks insightful questions. He demonstrated his baseball knowledge on WLW-AM's Sunday Extra Innings Reds post-game show last summer with his "10 Teammates In a Hat" feature. He asked current and former Reds to talk about players they knew on various teams throughout their major- and minor-league careers, which required a lot of research and knowledge of the game. The interviews were always very entertaining and informative.
UC and Bengals fans know how well he gets along well with his analysts -- even after they've been tossed out of the game by a referee. UC basketball partner Chuck Machock was ejected from the Bearcats' first-round NCAA tournament game against Gonzaga in 2003 in Salt Lake City. It became a running joke for Hoard, who ended every basketball broadcast by mentioning Machock's current streak of not being thrown out of a game. Then it became a running gag during David Letterman's CBS "Late Show" on March 12, 2010. Hoard, attending a Letterman show taping while in New York for UC's Big East postseason tournament, had mentioned Machock's ejection to Letterman during his audience warm-up.
Hoard was named Ohio Sportscaster of the Year in 2015 and 2017 by a group of his peers, winning the award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association & Hall of Fame.
Hoard will be part of the Fox Sports Ohio Reds coverage this season. He'll help fill the void created by the Reds elevating FSO's Jim Day into Kelch's role as a play-by-play announcer on both TV and radio.
Reds executives likely will search nationwide for the next Reds voice when Brennaman retires. The club could hire the next young, up-and-coming announcer, as they did in 1971 with Al Michaels (26) and in 1974 with Brennaman (31).
Or they could look down the street and hire Hoard.