In the latter part of his career, Whitaker has moved away from play-by-play or color commentary, and has become known for his essays at major sporting events.
Whitaker was banned from covering the Masters golf tournament for CBS for five years after referring to a patron gallery at Augusta National Golf Club as a "mob" at the end of the 18-hole playoff in 1966. He was allowed to return to the telecast in 1972.
Whitaker won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality in 1979 and received the Maryland Jockey Club's Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of thoroughbred racing. He was named "Best Announcer" by Sports Illustrated in 1976. In 1997 he was named to the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame, in 2001 he was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in Salisbury, North Carolina and in 2005 he was inducted into the Saint Joseph's University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Whitaker has a bowling center named for him and fellow broadcaster John Facenda. Facenda-Whitaker Lanes is located in East Norriton, Pennsylvania, and was named for Facenda and Whitaker in 1959, when the two were broadcasting news and sports, respectively, at WCAU. It is not clear whether or not either Facenda or Whitaker had any ownership interest in the center.
The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia  named Whitaker their Person of the Year in 1981 and inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2003.