Nelson with broadcast partner Red Grange (top) for NCAA Game of the Week coverage, 1955.
Lindsey Nelson (May 25, 1919 – June 10, 1995) was an American sportscaster best known for his broadcasts of college football and New York Metsbaseball. He spent 17 years with the New York Mets and three years with the San Francisco Giants. For 33 years Nelson covered college football, including 26 Cotton Bowls, five Sugar Bowls, four Rose Bowls, and 14 years announcing Notre Dame games. He is in 13 separate Halls of Fame. Fans remember a talented broadcaster, an expert storyteller, and a true sports enthusiast. From his colorful jackets to his equally colorful broadcasts, Nelson established himself as one of the industry's leading sportscasters.
Affectionately known as "Mr. New Year's Day," Nelson subsequently did the play-by-play of the Cotton Bowl Classic for 26 seasons on CBS television, where he earned widespread recognition for his Tennessee drawl and signature opening greeting: "Happy New Year; this is Lindsey Nelson in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas." For 14 years he was the syndicated television voice of Notre Dame football, and he also called the Mutual Broadcasting System's Monday night radio broadcasts of NFL games from 1974 to 1977, in addition to NFL games for CBS television for many years.
Nelson began his national baseball broadcast career as one of Gordon McLendon's radio announcers for the Liberty Broadcasting System, which primarily did recreations of games. After a stretch as an administrator with NBC Sports, he began doing the network's baseball broadcasts in 1957. He also broadcast college football, NBA and college basketball, and professional golf and tennis during his NBC tenure.
In 1962, he was hired as the lead broadcaster by the expansion New York Mets, and for the next 17 seasons did both radio and television with Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy. All three were eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. When Chicago White Sox pitcher and former Mets ace Tom Seaver went for his 300th victory in August 1985 against the host New York Yankees, the Yankees TV flagship station WPIX had Nelson call the final half-inning of Seaver's history-making win.
Television broadcasts featuring Nelson were notable for his multi-colored plaidsports jackets. He reportedly owned 335 of them at one time. During a broadcast, his jackets often clashed with the set and produced a scintillation effect in the broadcast image. But he figured that if fans could see rather than just hear broadcasts, he might as well give them something interesting to talk about.