The sports world lost one of its most prolific and versatile broadcasters this week when Dick Enberg passed away on Thursday. He was 82 years old and died of a heart attack, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
The stardom Enberg reached during his 60-year broadcasting career remains nearly unparalleled given his track record in calling baseball, football, and basketball games. Not only was he inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, he also received broadcasting awards from the Pro Football Hall of Fame (the Pete Rozelle Award), the Basketball Hall of Fame (the Curt Gowdy Award), and the National Baseball Hall of Fame (the Ford Frick Award).
Enberg also received his own star on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame in 1997.
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The 13-time Sports Emmy Award recipient was employed by NBC, CBS, and ESPN during his tenure as a national broadcaster. While football, basketball, and baseball were his primary beats as a play-by-play man and studio host, he also worked on the broadcasts of tennis and PGA majors along with the summer Olympics on NBC three times (1988, 1992 and 1996).
During that time, Enberg was part of several memorable sports moments. He covered 28 Wimbledons, 10 Super Bowls, and eight NCAA men’s basketball championships — including the 1979 Michigan State-Indiana State game, which included the first matchup between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
In baseball, he called nine MLB no-hitters and coined the phrase, “Touch ’em all,” referring to when players hit home runs. In football, he’s remembered for his Super Bowl XXIII broadcast — in which Joe Montana manufactured a go-ahead drive in the final minutes.
He called nine MLB no-hitters and coined the phrase, “Touch ’em all.”
Enberg broadcast the New England Patriots week-two game in 2001 — where Drew Bledsoe got hurt and his backup, Tom Brady, had to come in and fill in the void. Since then, Brady has won five Super Bowls and become the stuff of legend.
Most recently, Enberg served as the San Diego Padres play-by-play broadcaster, from 2010 to 2016. After 2016, he stepped down from his post and was replaced by former Boston Red Sox television play-by-play broadcaster Don Orsillo. Their tenures in San Diego overlapped by a year, as Orsillo did the team’s radio work in 2016 — so Orsillo was one of thousands of sports personalities who took to Twitter to speak glowingly of Enberg.
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The Michigan native’s last major public appearance was this past August, when he received the Detroit Sports Media Ernie Harwell Lifetime Achievement Award prior to a Detroit Tigers game at Comerica Park. Although he was technically retired from broadcasting, Enberg called three games for FOX Sports Detroit between the Tigers and Los Angeles Dodgers from August 18 to 20 of this year.
Enberg was the epitome of longevity in the broadcasting world. He was versatile — willing to cover many different kinds of events — and he brought tremendous energy, regardless of what he was doing. He’ll never be forgotten, as he was a major part of so many significant pieces of sports history.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.