NEW YORK — Tim McCarver will make his 55th straight season of Major League Baseball his last.
The two-time champion catcher will call the World Series this year and then retire from his analyst job at Fox.
“I wanted to step down while I know I can still do the job and proud of the job I’ve done,” the 71-year-old McCarver said during a conference call Wednesday.
His health is good, McCarver said. So are his passion and energy for the game.
It was just time.
“It’s not a tough call,” he said. “It’s not a sad thing for me.”
McCarver had been thinking about moving on for a couple of years. This winter, Fox executives visited him at his home in Florida to discuss extending his contract, which expired after the 2013 season.
They never even started negotiations. McCarver had already made up his mind.
He has worked 28 consecutive MLB postseasons on network television dating to 1984, providing analysis for a record 23 World Series.
McCarver got his start in broadcasting in 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies and NBC’s “Game of the Week.” He has also called local games for the New York Mets and Yankees and the San Francisco Giants.
McCarver later worked for ABC and CBS before joining Fox in 1996. Last year, he was honored by baseball’s Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.
“You’ve always been a great symbol of class,” Commissioner Bud Selig told McCarver on the conference call.
McCarver spent 21 seasons in the majors between 1959 and 1980, mostly with the Cardinals and Phillies. He was a two-time All-Star and won the World Series in 1964 and 1967 with St. Louis.
He missed the start of the 2011 AL championship series because of a minor heart-related procedure, but the test result that necessitated that medical work turned out to be a false positive.
McCarver has seen other people in various businesses stay at their jobs until their health eventually forced them out, and their quality of life was often not very good after they retired. McCarver didn’t want that for himself.
A wine aficionado with a second home in California’s Napa Valley, he’d love to travel to Italy for cooking classes.
“I plan on living a very long life, believe me,” McCarver said. “I hope Mother Nature cooperates.”
McCarver could still appear on Fox or its new cable network, Fox Sports 1, in a different role in the future. But until he tests out retirement, he can’t predict whether he’ll still want to do a little broadcasting.
McCarver worked with announcer Jack Buck on CBS from 1990-91 then became broadcast partners with his son, Joe Buck, at Fox in 1996.
Joe Buck said he had learned more about broadcasting from McCarver than anyone else, “even my father.”