- The Washington Times - Monday, December 23, 2002

They threw a nice bash for Chuck Thompson, the legendary Baltimore play-by-play man, earlier this month, but not all his friends could attend. They could get only about a thousand people into the banquet room at Martin's West in Towson, Md.
Thompson's 50-year broadcasting career ended a couple of years ago because of failing eyesight the medical term is macular degeneration but his hold on the affections of Orioles and Colts fans never will. He even did the Senators games with Bob Wolff for a couple of years in the late '50s, but Chuck always will be identified with Charm City.
Several years ago, he and I were chatting as we walked toward a restaurant in Little Italy when a man came up behind us and said excitedly, "I'd know that voice anywhere!"
"Gee, thanks," I said, trying to be funny.
"The man scowled, "Not you, you idiot I mean Chuck."
If you've ever listened to Thompson's rich, warm voice, it sticks in your memory like the ghosts of Christmases past:
"Third down, and Unitas wants to throw "
"Here's the 2-2 offering
grounder to third, Brooks has "
"A mighty fine shortstop is Cal Ripken Jr.
And I didn't even mention Chuck's two old signature sayings:"Go to war, Miss Agnes!" and "Ain't the beer cold?"
"I can see pretty good around the house, but I can't read and they won't let me drive," said Thompson, who is 81. "We're going to Florida next week, and I might try to play a little golf."
Which is just dandy, except that Chuck no longer can brighten our days and nights filling in for Jim Hunter or Fred Manfra during Orioles radio broadcasts. Unquestionably, his loss is our loss.
(Afterthought: Has any team ever had back-to-back baseball radio "voices" as good as Thompson, who is in Cooperstown, and Jon Miller, who will be? Maybe the 1950s Brooklyn Dodgers with Red Barber and Vin Scully, but surely no other.)
Those Christmas Bells
Veteran Washington publicist Charlie Brotman was among those receiving Lifetime Achievement Awards last week at the annual Kids In Trouble Inc. gala at the Crystal Gateway Marriott.
Other recipients included former NFL players Roy Jefferson, Johnny Sample and Jimmy Jones, former NBA star Spencer Haywood, Emanuel Steward and Larry Hazzard from the generally murky world of boxing, former NBA referee Lee Jones, sportscasting pioneer Maggie Linton and Marriott Corp. executive Bracy Bullock (who helped coordinate the first Kids In Trouble Christmas toy party at the Twin Bridges Marriott in 1971).
The biggest award of all should have gone to Kids In Trouble founder Harold Bell, the D.C. sports talk radio pioneer and community activist who puts on the gala every year along with his wife, Hattie. There's no telling how much money has been raised and good work has been done by Kids In Trouble, which will stage its annual toy party today from 2 to 4p.m. at the Crystal Gateway Marriott.
And come to think of it, why does Harold Bell no longer have a regular radio show? Considering his knowledge of sports and contacts within and without the community, a great resource is being wasted.
Baugh speaks
Comcast SportsNet will air what it calls an exclusive interview with legendary Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh on Christmas night, but maybe it ought to come with a warning label.
If Slingin' Sam the Redskin man cusses the way he did on TV a couple of years ago, the interview might be even too hot for cable.
Baugh, 88, retired to his Texas ranch 50 years ago this month after playing a then-record 16 seasons for the Redskins. He was interviewed by Comcast's Rich Cook, who presumably has a thick skin and tin ears.
That says it all
With Pac Bell's parent company thinking about renaming Barry Bonds' ballyard SBC Park, San Francisco Chronicle staffers and readers offered suggestions as to what the letters stand for.
The best: "See [Dusty] Baker in Chicago."
Old Blue Eyes is Back
Who said the NBA is marketing mostly to whippersnappers? New league commercials debuting nationally during the league's Christmas Day doubleheader on ABC will feature Frank Sinatra, who died 4 years ago at age 82, singing his classic version of "I've Got You Under My Skin."
The spots show Sinatra performing and is interspersed with footage and highlights featuring Kobe Bryant, Antoine Walker, Jason Kidd and Chris Webber.
Chris Webber? Maybe the Chairman of the Board should be doing "I Didn't Know What Time[out] It Was."
Gary gets diverted
Press release: Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams will be host for his annual Christmas special Wednesday night on Comcast SportsNet.
Comment: A Division I coach letting the holidays interfere with basketball? Hey, Gary, get your priorities straight.
Eminently quotable
Minnesota Vikings running back Michael Bennett, on his chances of making the Pro Bowl [he didnt]: "I go online and vote 100 times every night."

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