Ken Wilson (sportscaster)
|Born||1947 (age 67–68)
|Education||B.A., University of Michigan|
For twenty seasons Wilson called St. Louis Blues hockey on FoxSports Net Midwest, KPLR-TV, and KMOX radio. His famous catch phrase when calling Blues games was 'Oh Baby!', which he injected during moments of extreme excitement. Wilson called NHL games for 22 seasons, including games for ESPN and SportsChannel America, and spent 24 seasons broadcasting for several Major League Baseball teams.
Early life and career
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Wilson earned a degree in journalism from the University of Michigan, then attended business school at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, Hawaii. During this seven year stretch living in Hawaii (1970-1976), he did play-by-play for the Triple A baseball Hawaii Islanders, became sports director of the NBC affiliate in Honolulu, called University of Hawaii basketball games on radio and TV, and developed the second-ever sports talk radio show in the United States, Hawaii Sports Huddle Wilson also called Cincinnati Swords (American Hockey League) games from 1972-1974. In 1976 he received acclaim as Hawaii Sportscaster of the Year. Wilson went on to become the first announcer for the Seattle Mariners, along with Dave Niehaus, from 1977-1982.
Moving on from Seattle, Wilson did television games for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1982-1984, served as a part-time broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox in 1983, and called play-by-play for the Cincinnati Reds TV Network from 1983-1985. In 1984, Wilson was approached by Anheuser-Busch, then part owner of the Sports Time Cable Network, to not only announce the Reds games, but move from covering the Blackhawks during the hockey season to the St. Louis Blues. Wilson called his first St. Louis Blues game on October 11, 1984, a 4-2 win for the Blues in Calgary. During his time at Sports Time, he called the U.S. Olympic Basketball Team game against a team of NBA stars, played at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 9, 1984. The crowd of 67,678 was the largest crowd to see a basketball game in the U.S. at the time. During the 1985 baseball season, Ken Wilson, working with Joe Morgan, called Pete Rose's 4192nd hit that broke Ty Cobb's all time record. Wilson then called one of the greatest games in St. Louis Blues history, known as the Monday Night Miracle, the following year. Wilson's association as announcer for the Blues continued to grow stronger after that. He became the Voice of the NHL on ESPN, working with Bill Clement, and did play-by-play of the 1986 Stanley Cup Finals. In 1987, on ESPN, Wilson broadcast Rendez-vous '87 in Quebec City, an international hockey series between the Soviet National Team and the NHL All-Stars. From 1988-1992 he partnered with Herb Brooks on SportsChannel America's NHL coverage. Wilson also did hockey play-by-play for the 2000 Goodwill Games on TBS, working with John Davidson.
Major League Baseball
In addition to his hockey work, he continued his work in baseball, announcing St. Louis Cardinals games between 1985 and 1990, California Angels' games from 1991-1995, Oakland A’s games from 1996-1998, and Seattle Mariners games in 2011 and 2012. Wilson is one of a handful of broadcasters to call three perfect games during his big league career (Kenny Rogers, Texas Rangers, 1994; Phillip Humber, Chicago White Sox, 2012; and, Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners, 2012), as well as two no-hitters, George Brett's 3,000th hit and Gaylord Perry's 300th victory.
In 1997, Wilson purchased the Zanesville (Ohio) Baseball Club of the independent Frontier League and moved the club to the western suburbs of St. Louis. He formed an investor group and served as managing partner of the River City Rascals, until selling his interest in 2004. He helped form a second group that purchased a Frontier League expansion team in 2000. That club began play in 2001 in the eastern suburbs of St. Louis as the Gateway Grizzlies. Wilson sold his ownership interest in that club in 2013.
Wilson continued announcing for the St. Louis Blues earning the Missouri Sportscaster of the Year award in 2001 along with four Mid-America Emmy Awards for play-by-play. After the 2003–04 NHL season, when his contract was not renewed by the Blues, he moved back to Honolulu, where he spent a year as a reporter on KHON-TV, prior to opening Mama's Island Pizza in 2005. Along with his wife, Wilson operated the restaurant until February 2008. During this time, Wilson also did play-by-play for the Hawaii Winter Baseball League in 2006 and 2007.
In 2008, Wilson became President of the West Coast League, a top summer collegiate wood-bat baseball league, serving in that position until 2013. The following year he became president of the Great West League, a new summer collegiate wood-bat baseball league beginning play in 2016. In 2015 Wilson became owner and operator of the Portland Pickles, a team in the Great West League.
Wilson returned to the Seattle Mariners' television booth on July 27, 2008 to fill in for his former partner Dave Niehaus, who was being inducted to the Hall of Fame on the same day. Wilson returned to the Mariners again for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, providing radio and TV play-by-play as part of a rotating committee of announcers replacing Niehaus, who died on November 10, 2010.
- "Chris Kerber, Kelly Chase Introduced As New Blues Radio Broadcast Team On KTRS". St Louis Blues Online. Archived from the original on 2006-12-16. Retrieved 2007-01-05.
- Jones, Pam Droog (April 2004). "KEN WILSON: Bleeding Blue for 20 Years". St. Louis Commerce Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
- Jennings, Gail (January 2006). "Mama's Island Pizza - Mama Makes Great Pizza and Wings". Hawaii Diner. Retrieved 2008-03-04.
- "Media Views: Holy Cow! Caray and Buck CDs are winners". STL Today. Retrieved 2007-02-02.
- Wilson, Ken. "About WCCBL". West Coast Collegiate Baseball League. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
- "Mariners to use committee to fill Niehaus' spot". MLB.com.