Tim McCarver, a durable big-league catcher who played in four decades, made two All-Star teams and won two World Series championships, but whose greater renown derived from his career as a Hall of Fame broadcaster, died on Thursday in Memphis. He was 81.
His death was announced by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Known for his shrewd analysis of strategy, his literate use of metaphor and his penchant for predicting what was about to unfold on the field, often correctly, McCarver was sometimes a play-by-play announcer but most often a color man, a role that better suited his gift of gab.
His career spanned more than 30 years, from his start in Philadelphia in 1980, to his famous pairing with the former slugger Ralph Kiner in the Mets’ booth, to his national appearances on four different networks, to stints with the Yankees and the San Francisco Giants.
Throughout, his informed, perceptive and articulate observations of the game were widely admired, and his gravelly tenor with a hint of his Tennessee upbringing in it became one of the game’s most familiar voices.
Like all long-serving talking heads, he had his detractors. Some said he talked too much, belabored the obvious, too often tangled his grammar and was overly thrilled by his own cleverness; examples abounded on a now-defunct web page, shutuptimmccarver.com. The Atlanta Braves outfielder Deion Sanders once took exception to a McCarver criticism and dumped a bucket of ice water over his head in the locker room after a game.
But more numerous were those who appreciated his independence of mind and his alertness to situational nuances in the game.
A full obituary will be published soon.