Remembering Waite Hoyt, Former Reds Radio Voice, At Library Saturday

Jun 6, 2019

Historian Greg Rhodes celebrates the career of Waite Hoyt, the Reds' radio play-by-play voice from 1942-1965, at the main Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County downtown at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 8.

Hoyt, who was 22-7 pitching for Babe Ruth's World Champion Yankees in 1927, was hired by Cincinnati's Burger Brewing in 1942, four years after completing his 21-year Hall of Fame career with seven teams.

The son of a New York vaudeville performer, Hoyt was legendary for entertaining Reds fans during rain delays with stories about his baseball career, especially Ruth and the '27 Yankees. Burger released two record albums filled with his favorite tales, The Best of Waite Hoyt In The Rain (Vol. I and Vol. II), in the early 1960s on Personality Records.

Waite Hoyt broadcast Reds games on WKRC-AM, WSAI-AM, WCKY-AM or old WCPO-AM from 1942 through 1966.
Credit Courtesy Middletown Historical Society

Rhodes will play some Hoyt audio from the albums. His presentation in the first-floor Reading Garden Lounge will cover Hoyt's entire life, not just his time with the Reds. His talk is part of the library's celebration of the Reds' 150th anniversary. The library has an exhibit called "A Cincinnati Sesquicentennial: Celebrating 150 Years of the Cincinnati Reds" on the third floor through July 28.

Hoyt did games on WKRC-AM, WSAI-AM, WCKY-AM or old WCPO-AM. When Burger lost the rights to the Wiedemann Brewing Co, Hoyt retired at 66 instead of working for another beer company.

Burger had stuck with alcoholic Hoyt in the summer of 1945, when he missed 10 weeks of Reds broadcasts "due to amnesia." Hoyt checked himself into Good Samaritan Hospital, joined Alcoholics Anonymous and never drank again. His hospitalization prompted Ruth to send him that famous telegram: "Read about your case of amnesia. Must be a new brand."

In 1922, when this photo was taken, Waite Hoyt was 19-12 pitching for the New York Yankees.
Credit George Grantham Bain Collection / U.S. Library of Congress

Born on Sept. 9, 1899 – or 9/9/99 he liked to say –Hoyt was 237-182 pitching for the Yankees, Giants, Red Sox, Tigers, Athletics, Pirates and Dodgers from 1918 to 1938. He was nicknamed "Schoolboy" because he debuted with the New York Giants at age 18 in 1918.

After going 22-7 for the World Champion Yankees in 1927, Hoyt outdid himself the next year with a 23-7 record in 31 starts, plus he earned eight saves. Hoyt was tenth in the 1928 Most Valuable Player voting. His best years were with the Yankees (1921-1930), when he had a 157-98 record with 166 complete games, 15 shutouts and 29 saves.

Three years after retiring from radio, Hoyt was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, thanks to the Veterans' Committee. He died in 1984 at 84. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery.

On Saturday, June 22, the library will host a panel discussion about the 55-year history of the Rosie Reds organization with president Valerie Guthrie and past president Dale Silver as part of the Reds 150th anniversary celebration. The talk starts at 2 p.m. at the main public library, 800 Vine St., downtown.