Sometimes everything goes wrong on the Major League Baseball diamond. For the Atlanta Braves, the first game of the San Diego Padres series exemplified that fact. Great deals of things in the baseball world are far more important than what happens between the foul lines however. One such occasion was the news that Braves’ long time broadcaster Pete Van Wieren, the Professor, has died at the age of 69.
For a generation of Braves fans, Van Wieren was the voice of their team. He made the triumphs more triumphant and the somehow made all of the bad times a little easier to take. Along with partners Skip Caray and Ernie Johnson, Van Wieren had the task of calling games for a decade of losing teams in the 1980’s and did so with knowledge of the game and brilliance in tone of voice.
Knowing when to pass a joke and when to get serious, Van Wieren should be considered one of the all-time greats in the field of broadcasting. For my money, he and Caray in the booth was more fun to listen to than the game itself. They could have done a comedy routine or just told old stories to pass the time and just updated the score every half hour and I’d have been just fine.
Some of the best memories of childhood for this writer and many others include awesome baseball stories in rain delays and the chit chat that Van Wieren and his legendary broadcast partners made so easy to listen to. Something about Braves baseball is different now that Van Wieren is on the other side and that something will never be the same again. Thoughts and prayers go to his family.