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Chris Welsh 'stunned, surprised and humbled' by Ohio Sportscaster award

Chris Welsh joined the Reds TV team in 1993.
Courtesy Cincinnati Reds
Chris Welsh joined the Reds TV team in 1993.

Former Reds pitcher honored as he enters his 31st season on Reds TV as the longest-tenured baseball television announcer in Cincinnati history.

After pitching five seasons in the Major League, Chris Welsh never figured his subsequent broadcasting career would last six times longer.

Or dreamed that he'd win the Ohio Sportscaster of the Year award from the National Sport Media Association.

"My dream was to keep my job," he said about joining George Grande in the Reds TV booth in 1993. "I've had a series of one- or two-year contracts, which is the life of a sports broadcaster mostly."

It is the first broadcasting award for Welsh.

"I'm very honored. I’m stunned, surprised and humbled," says Welsh, a St. Xavier High School graduate who pitched for the Padres, Expos, Rangers and Reds (1981-86).

It's also the first time a Reds TV announcer has won the award started in 1959 by the NSMA, although former Reds radio voice Marty Brennaman was honored 16 times as Ohio Sportscaster of the Year by the organization.

"We should thank Marty for retiring to allow some other guys to win," Welsh says.

Courtesy Bally Sports Ohio

Actually, Cincinnati has been well represented in honors from the non-profit based in Salisbury, N.C., which presents awards to national sports media members, inducts sports journalists in a Hall of Fame and honors sportscasters and sportswriters state by state.

Bengals and UC voice Dan Hoard has won the honor four times, followed by Bob Trumpy (2), George Vogel, Al Michaels and Waite Hoyt. Cincinnati native Paul Keels, voice of the Ohio State Buckeyes, has won the award five times.

Cincinnati's C. Trent Rosecrans from The Athletic also won his second Ohio Sportswriter of the Year award.

"Bally Sports Ohio salutes Chris Welsh for his recognition as Ohio Sportscaster of the Year and would like to thank the NSMA for recognizing his achievements. In his three decades as a Reds analyst, Chris has been a trusted and informative voice for viewers in Cincinnati and throughout Reds Country," said Randy Stephens, Bally Sports Ohio senior vice president and general manager, in the media release.

Welsh, who turns 68 on April 14, has been a TV survivor. He worked for WLWT-TV, Sports Channel, variations of Fox Sports (Fox Ohio, Fox Net, Fox Sports Network Ohio, Fox Sports Ohio) and now Sinclair Broadcast Group's partnership with Bally Sports as Bally Sports Ohio. He's worked with George Grande, Marty Brennaman, Gordy Coleman, Steve Stewart, Thom Brennaman, Jeff Brantley, Jim Day, Jim Kelch, Doug Flynn, Barry Larkin, Sean Casey, Keels and Sadak.

Courtesy Cincinnati Reds
Chris Welsh and Thom Brennaman broadcasting for Fox Sports Ohio in 2018 from spring training in Arizona.

When Larkin joined the Reds TV team two years ago — strictly to do home games — Welsh picked up 25 games on radio with Tommy Thrall when Brantley did TV games. He also did some pre- and post-game Reds Live shows on Bally Sports Ohio.

Welsh expects to do about 110 Reds gigs this year — 85 Reds TV road games, 25 radio road games and Reds Live telecasts. Bally Sports also may do five spring training games from Arizona, he says.

"Cincinnati is very blessed with so many talented TV technicians, broadcast support crew, producers, directors and the folks in the (TV production) truck. We're really lucky, and it makes it easy for the guys who do the broadcast," says Welsh, who ended his playing career with the Reds in 1986 at age 31.

As a broadcaster, Welsh has become somewhat of a baseball rules expert. He created and operates, an interactive website designed to teach the rules of baseball by use of video lessons and quizzes.

"As a former player, I thought I knew a lot about the rules, but I didn't. It's my way of thanking the baseball community for allowing me to have a career in baseball. If people know the rules, they might be more interested in the game of baseball," he says.

The Kenwood native also is a board member of the Powel Crosley Jr. Amateur Baseball Fund, which oversees the Kid Glove Program; a partner in Champions Baseball Academy; and an active supporter of the Nuxhall Foundation's Joe Nuxhall Memorial Scholarship Fund and Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields.

Elected to the National Sports Media Association Hall of Famewere ESPN College GameDay analyst Lee Corso; Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke; and the late New Yorker baseball writer Roger Angell and the late hockey announcer Dan Kelly.

CBS Sports’ Ian Eagle was named 2022 national sportscaster of the year. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Pete Thamel of are the 2022 co-national sportswriters of the year.

The late Mike Pratt of the University of Kentucky Radio Network was posthumously named Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year. Jerry Tiptop of the Lexington Herald-Leader won his second award for Kentucky Sportswriter of the Year.

The NSMA will honor award winners at its 63rd awards weekend and national convention June 24-26 in Winston-Salem, N.C.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.