Joe Garagiola ends broadcast career after 58 years

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“I said I don’t care what you are going to throw,” Garagiola said, “but don’t hit him in the back pocket or we’ll have Jack Daniels all over home plate.”

For nine years, Garagiola worked on the telecasts of the Westminster dog show at Madison Square Garden in New York, taking an everyman’s approach to the entries. A proud owner of Yorkshire terriers, Garagiola was parodied by Fred Willard on the mockumentary “Best in Show,” an over-the-top portrayal that rankled the veteran announcer.

“Some people thought Joe didn’t know about dogs, but he really did,” longtime Westminster TV host David Frei said. “Nine times out of 10, he already knew the answer to the question he was asking me. He was just putting it in my wheelhouse.”

“He was a real pro, he taught me so much about the business. He was a perfect partner,” Frei said. “And he loved dogs.”

Garagiola will continue his efforts to fight the use of chewing tobacco, and he said he’d be available if the Diamondbacks ever get in a bind in the booth. A friend of Yogi Berra since the two grew up in the same St. Louis neighborhood, he said he hadn’t called his old pal about his decision.

“Yogi’s moved into one of these assisted living and retirement communities,” Garagiola said. `I said, `How’s it going?’ and he says, `It’s all right, but geez, they’ve got a lot of old people here.’”

Garagiola said his fondest memory was the 2001 season when the Diamondbacks, with his son, Joe Garagiola Jr., as the team’s general manager, beat the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Garagiola said he will most miss being around the players and the interaction. Not to worry too much _ Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall said Garagiola will have all the access he always did. The team will honor him at a game on April 12.

“Baseball, it hasn’t changed that much,” Garagiola said. “You still have to hit the ball and you still have to catch it. Good players will win and bad players will lose. Winners win and losers make excuses. It’s as simple as that.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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