We got to spend 12 solid minutes Thursday morning talking with a Cleveland broadcasting legend. Indians play-by-play man Tom Hamilton visited with Joel Riley and me for what was an extremely entertaining interview. We got into what baseball could look like, assuming the players and owners can come to an agreement on starting the season. Also discussed was the possibility of playing games without fans, the 39th anniversary of Len Barker's perfect game in Cleveland, announcer jinxes, stories from the booth and more. Here's a few key nuggets from Hammy:
**On the owners 82-game plan and their on-going talks with the players union: "You're hearing all the talk about he players and owners trying to come to an agreement...you're hearing a lot of rhetoric. I think eventually, when there's a deadline, they'll get it done. I think the biggest thing now is you've got to have enough (COVID-19) testing."
**On what it will be like to broadcast games without fans: "We're going to have to broadcast with the (press box) windows closed. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal to people but there's no way you can open the windows and broadcast and not have everybody down on the field hear you because there's no other sound. The last you need are the players looking up at you and saying 'shut the heck up.' The other thing and I know it sounds goofy and this tells you I've had too much time to think about it but if you have an umpire miss a call by 6-inches and you say that on the air, what if he turns around and throws you out of the ballgame? You're voice is going to carry throughout the stadium."
**Friday marks the 39th anniversary of the last no-hitter thrown by a Cleveland Indians pitcher and it wasn't just a no-hitter. Len Barker fired a perfect game May 15, 1981. That predated Tom's tenure as play-by-play man but he has met Barker on several occasions and reminisced. "I've gotten to know Lenny a little bit over the years and first off, his physical presence is imposing. You don't think of him as a major league pitcher. He's built like a defensive tackle on a football team. He is big, he is burly and his hand swallows up yours... Rick Manning caught the fly ball to end it and Archie said it wouldn't have mattered where that ball was hit in the outfield...he was catching it...The thing I hear all the time is, it wasn't a very nice night....but now it looks like at least 250,000 people attended that ballgame." The actual paid attendance was 7,290.
There was more great stuff from Hammy in the interview. We appreciate his time and hope he's back to work soon. To check out the full interview, click here to go to Joel's podcast page.