Radio/TV analyst and former PA announcer Duke McGuire is one of the true characters of Bisons baseball and he's getting inducted into the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Richly deserved. Be sure to read our story in Thursday's paper about McGuire's long career in the game -- and his huge role in getting "The Natural" filmed in Buffalo as well as playing a member of the New York Knights alongside Robert Redford (that's McGuire with Redford in 1930s baseball duds)
A long career can produce a long story and you can never have enough space to tell all the tales about this true Buffalo original. Rather than lose so much of these anecdotes in the story, I collected thoughts about Duke here from his three broadcast partners over the years.
Pete Weber (TV, 1990-95, currently with NHL's Nashville Predators)
On his broadcast style: "Because he has lived through the situations, he's very good at keeping things simple and explaining what could be complex. He never makes you feel like that football coach mentality of, 'You couldn't possibly absorb the info I'm about to impart to you here.' He's a teacher. He's used that in broadcasting and made it fun.
On a bizarre moment at the mic: "He uttered one of the funniest impromptu PA announcements I've heard in my life. He was announcing the license tag of a car needing to be moved [outside War Memorial Stadium] and as he's in the middle of the number, an M-80 or cherry bomb goes off on Dodge Street outside. Duke just keeps reading and when he finished the number he simply said, 'Your car has just blown up.' That dispays how quickly he could adapt to a situation."
On the Hall of Fame induction: "My mindset is we're not giving him a gold watch. This is somebody who has served so well in so many capacities with the team and is being properly honored."
Jim Rosenhaus (radio 1996-2006, currently with Cleveland Indians)
On his broadcast style: "He didn't take the game too seriously. He realized it was fun. The game was fun. When we had big games, it was a big deal but he would see the fun side of the game. He wanted to see the game played right. As a former player, he knew good and bad baseball. His persepectives gave him credibility too. I've seen a lot of baseball but he played it. He knew what guys were going through, especially as a former minor leaguer. He knew the challenges and that type of thing. He had a good perspective on the big club taking out five guys.
A bizarre moment: "WGR used a promo and it was a replay of a foul ball one night in Buffalo that hit [mascot] Chip in the head. I'm calling the play and before I even finished saying what was going on, Duke just blurts out, "Chip is down! Chip is down!" He made it sound like Ali-Frazier. They would play that all the time and it was hysterical."
On the Hall of Fame: "This is awesome for Duke. He would miss some road trips early in the season when school was still going on and to some extent for me, it never felt like baseball season till Duke went on the road."
On his broadcast style: "He sees things on the field before they happen and that helps the listeners. That can come out at any time, early or late in the game. He uses it as a tool to teach through our broadcasts as well, which I really appreciate. He helps the broadcast flow. He can move from the first inning and relate it back. He's been a player, a manager, worked in the front office. It makes a big difference."
On his wackiness in the booth: "I have to be alert at all times with Duke. From the "celebrity guest appearance" to the drop of something by 'The K-Man' in the stands. Duke is worrying about the ball -- and about the guy spilling a drop or two too."
On McGuire becoming a Hall of Famer: "I knew from the very beginning he was more of a connection to a fans that anybody I would ever have with me on the air. He's the connection to the current team and the years past. He's been the greatest resource to me in trying to learn Bisons history through regular conversation. It's not just players either. The Butcher came in and we started talking about him and that led to other cast of characters he had seen.
"He has longevity of the history but also the connection to all the loyal listeners out there. I've tried to use that to my advantage. It's huge for me to be able to connect to the history of this team through him."
Photo: McGuire and Wagner earlier this month at Coca-Cola Field -- James P. McCoy/Buffalo News
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