Mario Impemba

Mario Impemba (born 1962/1963)[1] is an American sportscaster, best known as the television play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Tigers from 2002 to 2018. Before working for the Tigers, he announced for the Los Angeles Angels on both television and radio and several minor league teams.

Mario Impemba
Impemba in Germany in 2013
Born1962/1963 (age 59–60)
EducationMichigan State University
Notable credit(s)Fox Sports Detroit (for the Detroit Tigers, 2002–2018) Fox Sports West, KCOP-TV and KLAA (for the Los Angeles Angels (1995–2001)

Early and personal life

Impemba is a native of Sterling Heights, Michigan[2] and a graduate of Stevenson High School[3] and Michigan State University.[4] He and his wife Cathy are parents of two sons, Brett and Daniel. Brett was drafted in the 49th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers.[5] The Impembas live in Macomb County, Michigan.[3]

Broadcasting career

Early roles

At Michigan State University, Impemba volunteered to announce whatever games were being broadcast on the university sports network. As a professional, he started out announcing games for the Peoria Chiefs single-A baseball club in 1987.[6] Impemba also served as the sports director at WXCL Radio and the play-by-play voice of the Peoria Rivermen of the now-defunct International Hockey League during the 1987-88 season.[6] From 1989 to 1990, Mario served as the voice of the Quad City Angels single-A team in Davenport, Iowa. In 1991, Impemba began calling games for the Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League.[6]

Impemba served as the radio (KLAA) and fill-in television (Fox Sports West and KCOP-TV) play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Angels for seven seasons (1995–2001).[4]

Detroit Tigers

Beginning in 2002, Impemba joined the Tigers television team alongside color commentator Kirk Gibson,[7] replacing play-by-play commentator Josh Lewin. In 2003, Rod Allen replaced Gibson, who was named the Tigers' bench coach that season. The Impemba–Allen tandem would last from 2003 to 2018. In the last few years of his tenure, Impemba occasionally worked alongside Gibson and Jack Morris.[4]

On September 4, 2018, Impemba and Allen were involved in an off-air physical altercation immediately after broadcasting the Tigers' road game against the Chicago White Sox. Fox Sports Detroit sent the men home on different planes after the game, and the following night's telecast was covered by Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson.[8] While one source claimed that there was an argument over a chair, followed by Allen putting Impemba in a choke hold, Allen's agent denied that his client choked Impemba.[9] On September 7, Fox Sports Detroit suspended both men from calling any Tigers games for the remainder of the 2018 season.[10] It was later announced that Impemba and Allen's contracts were not renewed for future seasons, ending their 16-year partnership.[11]

Boston Red Sox

On February 13, 2019, Impemba was named as a part-time play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox Radio Network.[12] It was announced in January 2020 that he would not return to the Red Sox.[13]

Mannerism and notable calls

Impemba always announces the game's attendance when there is one out left in the game, and usually rounds down, for example "Bottom of the ninth, two outs, the Tigers are about to win in front of a crowd of better than 41,000 fans—41,212 to be exact." Impemba is also known for calling any catch in which the outfielder holds the glove with palm up a "basket catch." His most common home run call is, "to the track, to the wall, gone!" Impemba, along with Rod Allen, called Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game on June 2, 2010. After Jim Joyce mistakenly called the runner safe at first base on what would have been the final out (Galarraga would retire the next Indians batter to end the game), Impemba stated that he "never felt this disappointed after a Tigers victory."

Awards and other works

Impemba had a Tigers blog named "Last Call," hosted on his now-defunct website, His book, If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers, was published in 2014.[14]

Impemba won a Michigan Emmy Award in June 2006 in the sports play-by-play category,[4] and also won the 2014 DSBA Ty Tyson Award for Excellence in Sports Broadcasting, receiving the award in a special pre-game on-field ceremony at Comerica Park.


  1. "Impemba Joins Angels' Radio Team". The Bangor Daily News. The Associated Press. November 1, 1994. p. C6. Impemba, 31, will join Bob Starr on KMPC radio at the beginning of the 1995 season, replacing Billy Sample, whose contract wasn't renewed.
  2. Gerstner, Joanne C. (July 22, 2002). "Impemba lives out dream as a Tigers broadcaster - Sterling Heights native is not afraid to be critical of team". The Detroit News. p. 04F.
  3. /team/broadcasters.jsp?c_id=det#mario_impemba Detroit Tigers Official Site - Broadcasters - Mario Impemba
  4. "Fox Sports Detroit Official Site - On Air Talent - Mario Impemba". Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved April 20, 2009.
  5. Oakland Signees Selected in Major League Baseball Draft Oakland University June 9, 2011
  6. Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association Member Profile - Mario Impemba Archived 2009-08-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. Price, S.L. (July 19, 2018). "Tamed Fury: How Kirk Gibson Learned to Quell His Volcanic Ferocity After Years of Rage". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  8. Fenech, Anthony (September 6, 2018). "Detroit Tigers' Mario Impemba, Rod Allen have 'severe' physical incident". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  9. Fenech, Anthony (September 7, 2018). "Detroit Tigers' Mario Impemba-Rod Allen altercation: Everything we know". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  10. Frenech, Anthony (September 7, 2018). "Fox Sports Detroit: Rod Allen, Mario Impemba done for season". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  11. Frenech, Anthony (October 9, 2018). "Broadcasters Rod Allen, Mario Impemba won't return to Detroit Tigers". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  12. Paul, Tony (February 13, 2019). "Former Tigers TV broadcaster Mario Impemba to join Red Sox radio team". The Detroit News. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  13. Paul, Tony (January 31, 2020). "Ex-Tigers TV man Mario Impemba without a job for first time since 1986". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  14. Impemba, Mario; Isenberg, Mike (2014). If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers: Stories from the Detroit Tigers' Dugout, Locker Room, and Press Box. ISBN 9781600789274.
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