Starkey among Bay Area's all-time best

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Jon Chelesnik
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Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:27 pm

Starkey among Bay Area's all-time best

#1 Post by Jon Chelesnik » Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:25 am

Found this complimentary piece on Joe Starkey on a blog in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

http://blogs.pressdemocrat.com/default.asp?item=2304121

The Bay Area has had some marvelous radio play-by-play men over the years, true extemporaneous, storytelling and journalistic artists: Russ Hodges in baseball; Lon Simmons in baseball and football; Hank Greenwald in baseball; Bill King in baseball, football and basketball; Greg Papa in baseball, basketball and football; and of course Jon Miller in baseball. Joe Starkey belongs in that group. He was (and is) that good.

Starkey announced he's leaving 49ers radio play-by-play after 20 years because of travel fatigue ( http://www.staatalent.com/Headlines/0812/19starkey.htm ). He'll continue to do Cal football.

Let me give an example of how highly I thought of Starkey's work.

On Jan. 4, 1997, the 49ers were playing the Packers in Green Bay in a playoff game. It was an 11 a.m. kickoff, Pacific Standard Time. A colleague and I had to work a swing shift at the newspaper that day. Since I lived near the paper and he didn't, I invited him over to my house to watch the game before we'd go to work.

He was more than mildly surprised at my preparations. TV sound muted. Radio with stereo speakers tuned in to Starkey's broadcast. I sat close to the radio on/off switch so I could kill the sound at the instant whenever the game broke for commercials; then when we saw the game return on TV, the radio would be turned on.

Like I said, my colleague was surprised, but he quickly understood. No TV play-by-play man, no matter his national reputation, no matter how good the quality of his work, was going to describe the 49ers game better than Starkey.

I've gone through similar preparations, literally hundreds of times, for games that involved all of the above-mentioned broadcasters. Eccentric? You make the call.

Like I said, the Bay Area has had artists, unlike any other, at the play-by-play mike. And Starkey doing the 49ers was one of them.

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