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New York's Best Sports Voices In A Variety of Categories

David J. Halberstam, a noted sports broadcast historian, has also selected the top five announcers by sport; baseball, football, basketball and hockey and by medium; sports-talk on radio and local sports on television. Be mindful that these rankings only grade announcers’ contributions to New York sports.

<strong>Phil Rizzuto</strong>. (Photo by Vincent Laforet/Getty Images)
Phil Rizzuto. (Photo by Vincent Laforet/Getty Images)

[Part 2 of a series about the top broadcasters in New York sports history. Part 1: Ranking the Top 25.]

Sports announcers have been with us for a long time and we've shared many precious moments with them; big calls on the car radio or talkies barking something so incongruous that it infuriated.

Here is a look at the top five announcers by sport; baseball, football, basketball and hockey and by medium; sports-talk on radio and local sports on television. Be mindful that these rankings only grade announcers' contributions to New York sports.

Basketball Play-by-Play

Marv Albert -- Is there anyone in New York more identified with basketball? "Yess!" Marv spent 37 years with the Knicks and five with the Nets.

Marty Glickman -- Developed the language of the game on radio, Glickman was the first voice of the Knicks, popularized "swish" for made baskets and inspired a class of budding announcers headlined by Marv Albert

Mike Breen -- Breen succeeded play-by-play announcer Jim Karvellas on Knicks radio broadcasts in 1992 and after Marv's fall from grace in 1997, he brought his breezy style to television. He's now at the top of his game, calling the NBA finals on ABC TV.

Jim Karvellas -- Karvo's thick-voice, folksiness, warmth and frank analysis are what New Yorkers experienced on Knicks' cablecasts (1980-86) and radio broadcasts (1986-92).

Spencer Ross -- A gifted rapid-fire announcer and Glickman protégé, Ross has commandingly called countless Knicks, Nets and local college games on both radio and on television since 1967.

Baseball Play-by-Play

Mel Allen -- The post-war Yankees represented royalty, championships and this beloved son of Alabama.

Red Barber -- The first daily baseball voice in New York and the acknowledged father of the game on radio.

Bob Murphy -- Through thick and thin, Murphy was the Voice of the Mets, lazy summer days and rhythmic broadcasts

Phil Rizzuto -- The Scooter produced forty lovable years of birthday greetings, "Holy Cow's" and down-to-earth play-by-play.

Vin Scully -- Intellectually precocious, emotionally restrained and in the shadows of icons Allen and Barber, Scully graced the airwaves during his eight youthful years in Brooklyn, beginning in 1950.

Football Play-by-Play

Marty Glickman -- From the 1950s to the 1990s, Glickman was the Voice of New York football, first the Giants then the Jets. His descriptions were vivid and his play-calling captivating.

Ted Husing -- Broadcast football's founding father and play-by-play trailblazer. From the 1920's though the 1940's, New Yorkers sat stiff necked listening to Ted's dramatic call of teams like Army, Columbia, Fordham and other powerhouses.

Chris Schenkel -- A baritone Midwesterner, he called Giants games every week on CBS Television. Fall Sunday afternoons in the '60s were often throws by Y. A. Tittle to Del Shofner, captioned melodiously by Chris Schenkel.

Merle Harmon -- The sonorous Harmon called Jets games on WABC Radio when Joe Namath was the toast of New York and when home games were not televised locally. "Joe Willie looks. Joe Willie throws!"

Jim Gordon -- While the Jets went through announcers like Zsa Zsa Gabor went through husbands, the gentlemanly Gordon spent 18 years with the Giants (including two Super Bowl championships).

Hockey Play-by-Play

Sam Rosen -- He has completed 26 seasons as the television voice of the Rangers. Rosen's very voice reminds fans of hockey in general, the Broadway Blues in particular and frosty winter nights.

Marv Albert -- From 1965 through 1994, despite accelerated absences for swelling non-hockey assignments, Marv's gripping trademark "Kick save and a beauty!" was firmly embedded in New York's hockey's lexicon.

Mike Emrick -- Probably the best of the lot but he calls the Devils, whose games lack popularity across the metro area. Nonetheless, Emrick is praised every year for his passion and eloquence on Stanley Cup network telecasts.

Win Elliot -- Elliot pioneered the first ever hockey telecasts in the late 1940s and handled Rangers' telecasts and many radio broadcasts in the 1950s and '60s.

Bert Lee -- From 1939-54, when radio monopolized, Bert Lee was the voice of the Rangers and New York's only broadcast link to hockey.

Television sports anchors

Warner Wolf -- A little man with an infectious style, his nightly 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. sportscasts were must viewing for a score of years.

Len Berman -- A New York cynosure, Berman's creative knack with words and video produced stimulating nightly sportscasts for 30 years.

Sal Marchiano --  The ‘Dean' of late night New York sportscasters, Marchiano joined WCBS TV in 1967 and for forty years ran the gamut through Channels 2, 4, 7 and most recently 11.

Bill Mazer -- For some 20 years on Channel 5's 10 o'clock news, the encyclopedic "A-Maz-in" had a jump start on his 11 o'clock competition and hosted the popular Sports Extra on Sunday nights.

Marv Albert --  In the 1970s and 1980s if it wasn't play-by-play, Albert found his way nightly to the Channel 4 set where he delivered rapid-fire and concise sports updates.


Mike Francesa and Chris Russo --  In New York, these two barnacles were sports-radio for 19 years. For some, they were a fun listen, for others they were a sounding board and for aspiring hosts they were the paragon of success.

Bill Mazer -- In 1964, he arrived from Buffalo at powerhouse WNBC Radio (now 66WFAN) and pioneered New York radio's first two-way sports-talk show.

Art Rust --  More than 50,000 watt powerhouse, WABC, Arthur George Rust Jr. dominated the 1980's. His evening show was appointment listening through much of the decade.

John Sterling -- Sterling arrived at WMCA in 1971 at age 33. Over the next half-dozen years, he changed the face of sports talk radio from pleasant interaction to occasional harangues.

Boomer Esiason --  New York's first morning-drive sports host. Boomer brings perspicacity in more than just football to radio's richest and most competitive daypart. A native New Yorker, Esiason is challenged each morning to keep flamboyant partner, Carton, in check.