Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Twenty-Five National Television Announcer Milestones From Aug. 23 to Sept. 22

Somewhere around Aug. 23, it looks like we quit updating the Twitter feed as new announcer milestones got reached. That happened for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the unprecedented month-long convergence of all four major pro sports plus MLS.

The record-keeping hasn't stopped, though, and now we present a 24-pack of announcer milestones that happened since then. Plus a bonus one at the end because there were actually 25.

(I really should knock the dust off this blog more often rather than trying to compress everything into 280 characters on Twitter...)

Totals updated through the close of the day on Sept. 20, 2020, and also include Monday Night Football on Sept. 21.

1. August 24:
 Ed Olczyk becomes the sixth person to call 750 American national telecasts of National Hockey League games.

2. August 24: Pierre McGuire calls his 1,300th national NHL telecast between the U.S. and Canada. He's the second person to reach that milestone, trailing Bob Cole. Widening the scope to all four major professional sports, Cole and McGuire are joined in the 1300 club by Marv Albert and Dick Stockton (with Jim Hughson approaching).

3. August 24: McGuire's 1300th game between the U.S. and Canada was also his 909th American national telecast. That tied him with Mike Breen for the 11th-most in our records. (McGuire passed Breen outright with Canucks-Golden Knights on Aug. 25, although "passed" is relative because Breen is very much still active,)

4. August 25: With the Canucks-Golden Knights game, Louie DeBrusk makes his 204th appearance as an NHL colour commentator on a Canadian network. That ties Mickey Redmond for 15th in our records. DeBrusk completes the pass with his 205th game, Avalanche-Stars, the next day.

5. August 26: The Lightning-Bruins game was Olczyk's 750th American national telecast of an NHL game as a color commentator. (The difference between this and no. 1 is that the former listing includes two games as a sideline reporter.)

6. August 26: With Lightning-Bruins, Mike Emrick calls his 1,074th game on our overall master list — all three flavors of announcer, all four major pro sports, including Canada. That ties Harry Neale for 12th on that list. Emrick completes the pass when the two teams meet on Aug. 29.

7. August 26: The Flyers' game against the Islanders is the 894th time that team has appeared on an American network, matching the Red Wings for the most by an NHL team. Philadelphia completes the pass three days later.

8. August 29: The NBC hockey analyst of the present ties NBC's baseball analyst of a generation ago. Ed Olczyk analyzes his 766th game (Lightning-Bruins), matching the number of MLB telecasts with which Tony Kubek is credited. That's tied for 10th-most on our list of analysts across the U.S. and Canada. Edzo completes the pass with Flyers-Islanders the next night. (This milestone counts games on both sides of the international border. There is about to be another, similar milestone counting only U.S. telecasts.)

9. August 30: Baseball breaks into a list that has thus far been a bunch of hockey. Ron Darling becomes the tenth man to call 250 national MLB telecasts as an analyst when he breaks down the Yankees and Mets on TBS.

10. August 30: The Avalanche-Stars game double-dips on the milestone tracker. Kenny Albert calls his 300th NHL telecast for the United States, becoming the 13th person overall and seventh play-by-play announcer to reach that milestone. The game is also his 1,138th on the overall master list (all three flavors of announcer, all four major pro sports, including Canada), tying Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada for 10th place. Albert completes the pass of Oake later that night with Golden Knights-Canucks.

11. August 30: Sunday Night Baseball hits the City of Brotherly Love and Matt Vasgersian calls his 300th national MLB telecast as the play-by-play man. He's the 14th man to reach that plateau.

12. September 5: John Forslund becomes the fifth man to handle play-by-play of 350 NHL telecasts for an American national audience when he calls Islanders-Flyers. He's the 14th person to get there if you include Canada, and the 11th person to get to 350 American NHL games in any flavor of commentary.

13. September 5: With no regard for human life, the Nuggets-Lakers game is the 1,200th appearance by Kevin Harlan on our American master list (all three flavors of announcer, all four major pro sports, but not including Canada). All of those appearances are as the play-by-play announcer, and he's the third person to reach that milestone, behind Dick Stockton and Marv Albert. If you expand to Canada, he's fifth, also trailing Bob Cole and Jim Hughson. If you expand to color/colour commentators and include Canada, Pierre McGuire also tops him (see no. 2).

14. September 7: Craig Simpson calls his 850th NHL telecast in Canada, all as the colour commentator. The game in question is Islanders-Lightning. He's the third colour man to 850, trailing Harry Neale and Dick Irvin, and the eighth to 850 in Canada overall.

15. September 9: Jeff Van Gundy analyzes his 700th NBA national telecast, becoming the sixth person to broadcast 700 NBA games and the first person not named Hubie Brown to do color on that many.

16. September 11: John Forslund ties Dave Randorf for 13th on the NHL play-by-play list combining the U.S. and Canada. His 353rd game, bringing him level, is Lightning-Islanders on the 11th. His 354th game, completing the pass, is Golden Knights-Stars the next night.

17. September 11: Reggie Miller ties Mike Fratello for the fifth-most appearances on national television as an NBA game analyst, working his 517th game when the Nuggets play the Clippers. With the break between series, it takes him a week to finish the pass, until the 18th, by which time the Nuggets are playing the Lakers. Fratello was also holding down the no. 10 spot on the NBA's overall leaderboard, which Reggie now holds as well.

18. September 13: With her first NFL game of the season, Cardinals-49ers at Levi's Stadium, Laura Okmin passes Al Trautwig for 18th place on our master American sideline reporter list (all four major pro sports). The appearance is Okmin's 191st and also allows her to tie Tom Verducci for no. 17; she passes Verducci with the Rams-Eagles game a week later.

19. September 13: The leading lady of Sunday Night Football, Michele Tafoya, makes her 492nd appearance on our American sideline reporter list (all four major pro sports). That ties Jim Gray for fourth-most, trailing Craig Sager, Ken Rosenthal and Lisa Salters. Tafoya passes Gray a week later with Patriots-Seahawks.

20: September 14: Lisa Salters ties Bonnie Bernstein for the seventh-most sideline appearances in NFL TV records with her 141st on the Titans-Broncos game. She finishes the pass with the second week of Monday Night Football on Sept. 21.

21. September 15: Brian Boucher ties Joe Micheletti for sixth place on the American NHL analyst list with his 267th game. He passes Micheletti two days later. Both games are Islanders-Lightning.

22. September 17: Combining totals between the U.S. and Canada, Ed Olczyk ties former Hockey Night in Canada lead man Bill Hewitt with his 780th national telecast. Olczyk equalizes with the final Islanders-Lightning game, then passes Hewitt for 16th outright on Sept. 19 ... speaking of which ...

23. September 19: The opener of the Stanley Cup Final is Mike Emrick's 1050th game as a play-by-play announcer on our master list (all four major pro sports including Canada), He's the ninth person to get there.

24. September 22: With Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Final, Brian Anderson calls his 116th national NBA telecast. That ties Dan Shulman for 16th among play-by-play announcers.

25. September 22: Rick Sutcliffe, ESPN's most experienced MLB analyst, calls his 576th national telecast; John Madden also called 576 national NFL telecasts during a career that spanned all four major broadcast networks from 1979-2008. The two men are tied for 12th on the analyst leaderboard across all four major pro sports and will be until Sutcliffe works again. Sutcliffe's total is also fourth-most among MLB color guys, falling in a big gap between Tony Kubek (766) and John Smoltz (398).

Regular Twitter service will now resume.

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