List of Pittsburgh Pirates broadcasters

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Forbes Field wall – 2006

The Pittsburgh Pirates are members of Major League Baseball (MLB); they have employed sportscasters to provide play-by-play and color commentary during games broadcast over the radio and on television.

On August 5, 1921, Pittsburgh hosted the first baseball game broadcast over the radio. Harold Arlin, a foreman at Westinghouse, announced the game over KDKA from a box seat next to the first base dugout at Forbes Field.[1][2][3] Throughout the 1920s and 1930s "occasional" games would be broadcast, until Rosey Rowswell became the first "Voice of the Pirates" in 1936.[4] While most of Roswell's early broadcasts were solo, he was joined by Pirates' co-owner Bing Crosby and his successor Bob Prince for games.[4] Prince took over as lead broadcaster in 1955 and held the position over the next 20 seasons. Prince gained a reputation for giving players nicknames and inventing catchphrases to describe the game; he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in August 1986.[5] After the Pirates fired Bob Prince and his sidekick Nellie King after the 1975 season, they hired Milo Hamilton away from Atlanta to be the lead broadcaster and brought Lanny Frattare from their minor league affiliate to be the second announcer. After Hamilton left after the 1979 season, Frattare held the position for 29 years—the longest tenure of any Pirates' broadcaster.[6] Upon Frattare's retirement after the 2008 season, Greg Brown took over the role as lead broadcaster.[7] Multiple people have held temporary positions as broadcasters, including former players Don Hoak, Dave Giusti, Willie Stargell, and Pittsburgh Penguins' broadcaster Mike Lange.[8]

WWSW-FM broadcast Pirates' games on the radio during the 1940s and 1950s until KDKA became the franchise's flagship station in 1955.[9] In 2006, the Pirates switched to WPGB in an attempt to reach younger age brackets; under the contract WPGB carried Pirates' games though the 2011 season.[10] Starting with the 2012 season, KDKA-FM took over as the flagship station of the Pirates Radio Network. As of 2016, the Pirates Radio Network has stations located in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland.

TV & radio broadcasters[edit]

Go ball, get outta here!

—Lanny Frattare after a Pirates home run[11]

There are a reported 15,000 people at the game this afternoon. If that's true, then at least 12,000 of them are disguised as empty seats.

—Jim Woods[12]

There was nooooo doubt about it.

—Lanny Frattare after a Pirates win[11]

Clear the deck, cannonball coming!

—Greg Brown after a Pirates home run[13]

Raise the Jolly Roger!

—Greg Brown after a Pirates win[14]

Broadcaster Years[a] Reference
Harold Arlin 1921 [15]
  Rosey Rowswell   19331954 [4][15]
Al Helfer 19331934 [15]
Jack Craddock 19421947 [15]
Bob Prince 19471975; 1985 [16]
Paul Long 19571962 [17]
Jim Woods 19581969 [18]
Nellie King 19671975 [18]
Gene Osborn 1970
Milo Hamilton 19761979 [19]
Lanny Frattare 19762008 [6][20][21]
Nellie Briles 19791980 [22]
Dave Martin 1980 [22]
John Sanders 19811989 [22]
Jim Rooker 19811993 [22]
Steve Blass 1983–present [23]
Alan Cutler 1986
Mike Lange 19861987 [24][25]
Kent Derdivanis 19901993 [11]
Bob Walk 1994–present [23]
Greg Brown 1994–present [26]
John Wehner 2005–present [7]
Tim Neverett 20092015 [7]
Joe Block 2016–present


  • a Each year is linked to an article about that particular MLB season.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McCollister 2008, p. 104
  2. ^ Leventhal, Josh; Jessica MacMurray (2000). Take Me Out to the Ballpark. New York, New York: Workman Publishing Company. p. 53. ISBN 1-57912-112-8.
  3. ^ Smith, Curt (2005). Voices of Summer. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1446-8.
  4. ^ a b c Finoli, Ranier 2003, p. 477
  5. ^ O'Brien 1998, p. 20
  6. ^ a b "Pittsburgh Pirates play-by-play announcer Lanny Frattare to retire after 33 seasons" (Press release). 1 October 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Broadcasters". Team. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
  8. ^ Finoli, Ranier 2003, p. 484
  9. ^ Associated Press (12 September 2006). "After 51 years, KDKA out as Pirates flagship station". Retrieved 30 January 2009.
  10. ^ "Pirates announce five-year strategic partnership with Clear Channel Communications" (Press release). 2006-09-12. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  11. ^ a b c Biertempfel, Rob (2008-10-02). "No doubt about it: Lanny Frattare retires". Memorable Calls. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
  12. ^ McCollister 2008, pp. 129
  13. ^ Cannonball Coming! The Homerun Call That’s Freaking Out Pittsburgh Pirates Fans
  14. ^ All around Pittsburgh, they are raising the Jolly Roger
  15. ^ a b c d "Pirates Broadcasters". All Time List. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  16. ^ Finoli, Ranier 2003, pp. 478–9
  17. ^ Finoli, Ranier 2003, pp. 479–80
  18. ^ a b Finoli, Ranier 2003, p. 480
  19. ^ Finoli, Ranier 2003, pp. 480–1
  20. ^ Finoli, Ranier 2003, pp. 481–2
  21. ^ Robinson, Alan (1 October 2008). "Frattare retires after 33 seasons with Pirates". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  22. ^ a b c d Finoli, Ranier 2003, p. 482
  23. ^ a b Finoli, Ranier 2003, p. 483
  24. ^ "Lange, Blass cable 'casters". Latrobe Bulletin. Latrobe, PA. April 14, 1986. p. 13. Pittsburgh Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange and former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Steve Blass have been named as the announcers for the Pirates' 50-game cable television package.
  25. ^ "Mike Lange Gone - Pirate Announcers Set For '88 Season". Latrobe Bulletin. Latrobe, PA. January 14, 1988. p. 12. Mike Lange...will not be a part of the Pirates' 1988 [announcing] crew.
  26. ^ Finoli, Ranier 2003, pp. 483–4


External links[edit]