Last year on his birthday I proposed the Reds honor Hall of Fame Reds radio announcer Marty Brennaman with the "ultimate birthday present," a statue on Crosley Terrace. I've updated the blog for his 74th birthday today. Happy Birthday, Marty!
As he celebrates his 74rd birthday today, Marty Brennaman sounds as excited as that rookie big league radio announcer who joined Joe Nuxhall in 1974. That’s what made Marty a Hall of Famer.
Reds fans will say he’s best known for his calls of the 1990 World Series, Jay Bruce’s Central Division clinching homer in 2010, or Pete Rose’s hit number 4,192. But to me Marty’s at his best when the Reds are at their worst. Just listen. Marty and Jeff Brantley or Jim Kelch keep fans laughing and engaged through this awful season.
Marty has been the soundtrack of our summers for 43 years, and I hope he’s in the Reds Radio booth for many more birthdays to come. His contract expires in October, but he announced in May that he'll be back in 2017 – and then he will "take stock on a year-by-year basis" and decide how much long he'll be our constant summer companion.
I say it’s time to start planning the ultimate birthday present for a Marty Brennaman – a statue on Crosley Terrace to go with the “Great Eight” from the Big Red Machine. The Pete Rose statue will be added next year, joining Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez. Nuxhall is there pitching. Marty should be at the mic outside the stadium, the way the St. Louis Cardinals honored Jack Buck.
Marty has told me and others he wants to walk away from Reds Radio without any fanfare or farewell tour. If next year is his last year, we won’t know it until after the last game.
“When I walk away, I’ll let them know the day after the season ends," he told me before leaving for spring training in 2015. "I don’t want all the (farewell stuff) that goes along with it. I understand they could probably make a lot of money. But whatever they want to do, they’d have to do it the next year, because I’m just not interested in all that stuff. I don’t want to be bothered with it. I don’t need a night. The club and the fans have been good enough to me. I don’t need all that stuff.”
It would be great for Marty to get us through these tough rebuilding years, and enjoy the rebirth of the franchise. He's such a pro, you can't tell how difficult it is for him to watch the Reds lose all these Titantic struggles. At Hamilton's Joe Nuxhall Memorial Sports Stag in January, Brennaman told the crowd his feelings about watching the Reds lose 98 games last year:
"I'd come home and tell (wife) Amanda, if I have to look at these guys again I'll throw up. And the next day I'd change my mind…. Damn! 42 years is long enough!"
Marty deserves to be enshrined permanently on Crosley Terrace with the Big Red Machine. He’s the Reds’ last remaining link to the 1975-76 World Champions and Riverfront Stadium, Tom Browning's perfect game in 1988, Ken Griffey's 600th home run in 2008.
He deserves to be permanently enshrined on Crosley Terrace with the Big Red Machine…. because this one belongs to the Reds.