Tim McCarver

James Timothy McCarver (born October 16, 1941) is an American former professional baseball player and television sports commentator. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher from 1959 to 1980, most prominently as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals where, he was a two-time All-Star player and a member of two World Series winning teams.

Tim McCarver
McCarver in 2002
Born: (1941-10-16) October 16, 1941
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 10, 1959, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
October 5, 1980, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Batting average.271
Home runs97
Runs batted in645
Career highlights and awards

Later in his career while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies, McCarver became known as the regular catcher for Hall of Fame pitcher, Steve Carlton. One of the few major league players to have appeared in four different decades, he finished second in voting for the 1967 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player Award. McCarver also played for the Montreal Expos and the Boston Red Sox.

After his playing career, he became a three-time Emmy Award winning television color commentator, most notably for Fox Sports. McCarver called a then-record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star Games. In 2012, McCarver was named the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting and, in 2016 he was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.[1][2] In 2017 he was inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Early playing career

McCarver was born in Memphis, Tennessee. McCarver, following his years with Memphis' Christian Brothers High School, was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1959. Playing with the Cardinals' minor league teams of Keokuk and Rochester, McCarver reached the MLB level for the first time at the age of only 17.

He spent the 1960, 1961, and 1962 seasons shuttling between St. Louis and the minor league teams of Memphis, Charleston (West Virginia), and Atlanta. In 1963, he was called up to the majors for good.

St. Louis Cardinals

In 1964, his tiebreaking home run in the 10th inning won Game 5 of the World Series. In 1966, McCarver was named to the All-Star Team, scored the winning run in the 10th inning of that 1966 All-Star Game, and became the first catcher to lead the National League in triples, with 13. In 1967, he finished second to teammate Orlando Cepeda for the National League Most Valuable Player award. McCarver was a member of two World Series championships during his time in St. Louis. He was the favorite catcher of the notoriously temperamental Bob Gibson, and fostered a relationship with young pitcher Steve Carlton that would keep him in the major leagues later in his career. In 1968, he was the Cardinals catcher as they took the NL pennant but lost to the Detroit Tigers in a seven-game World Series.

Later career

McCarver in 2017

After a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies involving, among others, his teammate Curt Flood (which led to Flood's lawsuit over baseball's reserve clause) before the 1970 season, McCarver played for the Phillies, Expos, Red Sox, and another brief stint with the Cardinals (he was replaced on the roster by the rookie Keith Hernandez). McCarver's career might have taken a different turn in 1975, when, according to Peter Gammons, McCarver (then 33 and Boston's third-string catcher) was rumored as a potential managerial replacement for struggling skipper Darrell Johnson. McCarver, however, was released (to return to the Phillies), and Johnson led the Red Sox to the '75 AL pennant.[3]

During his first stint with the Phillies, McCarver caught Rick Wise's no-hitter on June 23, 1971.[4] At the end of the season, the Phillies traded Wise to the Cardinals for Steve Carlton, the deal reuniting McCarver with Carlton. During the 1972 season, the Phillies traded McCarver to the Montreal Expos where, on October 2, he caught the second of Bill Stoneman's two career no-hitters.[5]

On July 4, 1976, McCarver hit what is known as a "Grand Slam Single" when, after hitting a grand slam, he passed his teammate Garry Maddox on the basepath. While hosting the HBO special The Not-so-Great Moments in Sports, McCarver later claimed to have said to the umpire, "I didn't pass him, he lapped me." Asked how Maddox could have done that, McCarver replied, "Sheer speed." The event was commemorated in the book The Baseball Hall of Shame 3 as "Tim McCarver's Grand Sob."

McCarver finished his career as the personal catcher for Steve Carlton for the Phillies in the late 1970s. Carlton preferred McCarver to Phillies regular Bob Boone. McCarver has often quipped during broadcasts that when Carlton and he eventually died, they would be buried 60 feet, 6 inches apart.

He retired after the 1979 season to begin a broadcasting career. McCarver briefly returned to duty in September 1980, thus becoming one of only 29 players in baseball history to date to appear in Major League games in four different decades (1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s). He caught 121 shutouts during his career, ranking him 9th all-time among major league catchers.[6]

Broadcasting career

As a broadcaster, McCarver has enjoyed prominence as a color commentator on the network level. He has won three Emmy Awards for Sports Event Analyst.

He began his broadcasting career at WPHL-TV (Channel 17) in Philadelphia, where he was teamed with Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas for Phillies games, before co-hosting HBO's Race for the Pennant in 1978 and working as a backup Game of the Week commentator for NBC in 1980.

McCarver has called baseball for all four major U.S. television networks. His work at NBC was followed by stints with ABC (where he teamed with Don Drysdale on backup Monday Night Baseball games in 1984 and Al Michaels and Jim Palmer from 1985 to 1989 and again from 1994 to 1995 under the "Baseball Network" umbrella) and CBS (where he teamed with Jack Buck from 1990 to 1991 and Sean McDonough from 1992 to 1993). McCarver was paired with Joe Buck on the Fox network's MLB telecasts, a role he held from 1996 to 2013.

McCarver called his first World Series in 1985 for ABC as a last minute replacement for Howard Cosell. Cosell had been removed from the broadcasts altogether after excerpts from his controversial book I Never Played the Game (which was critical of Cosell's co-workers at ABC Sports) appeared in TV Guide. Perhaps McCarver's most notable assignment for ABC prior to the 1985 World Series was as a field reporter for the 1984 National League Championship Series.

Also while at ABC, he also served as a correspondent and play-by-play announcer for Freestyle skiing at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. McCarver also co-hosted the prime time coverage of 1992 Winter Olympics with Paula Zahn for CBS.

McCarver called games for local sports networks carrying the Phillies from 1980 to 1982, Mets from 1983 to 1998, Yankees from 1999 to 2001, and Giants in 2002. He is one of three sportscasters to have covered the Mets and the Yankees, along with Fran Healy and Tom Seaver, and one of three sportscasters to have covered both the Mets and the Phillies, along with Todd Kalas and Tom McCarthy.

With one out in the bottom half of the ninth inning of the seventh game of the 2001 World Series, the Arizona Diamondbacks had the bases loaded with the score tied against the New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera. McCarver commented that the Yankees' Rivera pitched inside to left handed hitters, often giving up a lot of broken bat hits to shallow outfield, and that it was dangerous to bring the infield in, in such circumstances. On the next pitch, the Diamondbacks' Luis Gonzalez hit a blooper just a few feet into the outfield grass behind the drawn in infielders, winning the World Series for the Diamondbacks. [7]

In 2003, McCarver set a record by broadcasting his 13th World Series on national television (surpassing Curt Gowdy); in all, he called 24 Fall Classics for ABC, CBS, and Fox. Also, from 1984 (when he served as a field reporter for ABC's NLCS coverage) to 2013 (when he served as color analyst for Fox's coverage of the ALCS), McCarver never missed commentating on at least one League Championship Series per year.

McCarver announced March 27, 2013 that he would leave Fox after the 2013 season.[8] His final Fox broadcast was October 30, 2013, as the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 to win the 2013 World Series.[9] On December 8, 2013 he was hired to be a part-time analyst for the Cardinals on Fox Sports Midwest.[10] He teamed with Dan McLaughlin to call 30 games in the 2014 season.[11]

His first game called for the Cardinals was on April 28, 2014, when they hosted the Milwaukee Brewers. At the conclusion of the season, McCarver stated that he had not yet decided whether to come back to the Cardinals' booth in 2015.[12] However, McCarver returned to the Cardinals booth for 40 games in 2015, and continued to call a select number of games each year through 2019. In July 2020, it was announced that McCarver would not be working any telecasts during the team's shortened 2020 season, citing his doctor's recommendations due to health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[13] In April 2022, McCarver officially announced his retirement from broadcasting.[14]

McCarver also hosted a nationally syndicated sports interview program, The Tim McCarver Show, from 2000 until 2017 when it was replaced by The James Brown Show.


McCarver has elicited criticism throughout his broadcasting career.

During the 1992 National League Championship Series, he criticized Deion Sanders, who also had become an NFL star, for playing both sports on the same day. For his criticism, on October 14, 1992 after Game 7 had concluded, Sanders dumped a bucket of water on McCarver three times while he was covering the National League pennant winning Atlanta Braves' clubhouse celebration for CBS. After being doused with the water, McCarver shouted at Sanders, "You are a real man, Deion. I'll say that."[15] Also during the 1992 post-season (when McCarver worked for CBS), Norman Chad criticized McCarver in Sports Illustrated by saying that he's someone who "when you ask him the time, will tell you how a watch works", a reference to McCarver's habit of over-analyzing.

In October 2008, just before the 2008 NLCS, McCarver made public his feelings about Manny Ramirez, calling him "despicable" and criticizing Ramirez for his perceived sloppy, lazy play in Boston and how he had suddenly turned it around in Los Angeles. Ramirez declined comment.[16]

In 2010, he compared the New York Yankees treatment of former manager Joe Torre to the treatment meted out by Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia to generals who fell out of favour with their leaders. After receiving negative comments on his position, McCarver apologized.[17]

Music career

On October 9, 2009, McCarver released a cover album of jazz standards entitled Tim McCarver Sings Songs from the Great American Songbook.[18][19]

Awards and honors

McCarver speaking upon being inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, 2010.


  • Two-time World Series champion
  • Two-time National League All-Star
  • 2010 Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame inductee.[20]


  • Three-time Sports Emmy Award winner (Outstanding Sports Event Analyst)
  • 2012 Ford C. Frick Award winner

The minor league baseball stadium in Memphis was christened Tim McCarver Stadium in 1978; it was replaced by a new downtown stadium (named AutoZone Park in a naming rights arrangement) in 2000.


  • McCarver, Tim and Danny Peary (1999). Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans: Understanding and Interpreting the Game So You Can Watch It Like a Pro. Villard. ISBN 978-0-375-75340-4.
  • McCarver, Tim and Danny Peary (2008). Tim McCarver's Diamond Gems. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-154594-5.

See also

  • List of St. Louis Cardinals team records
  • List of Major League Baseball annual triples leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball players who played in four decades


  1. McCarver gets call from Baseball Hall of Fame, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (July 15, 2012)
  2. "Tim McCarver at the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame". sportsbroadcastinghalloffame.org. Retrieved October 23, 2022.
  3. Gammons, Peter (1985). Beyond the Sixth Game. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co. p. 73.
  4. "Retrosheet Boxscore: Philadelphia Phillies 4, Cincinnati Reds 0".
  5. "Retrosheet Boxscore: Montreal Expos 7, New York Mets 0 (1)".
  6. "The Encyclopedia of Catchers – Trivia December 2010 – Career Shutouts Caught". The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  7. "2001 World Series - Luis Gonzalez's walk-off hit against Mariano Rivera". YouTube. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  8. "'I Am By No Means Retiring': Tim McCarver To Leave Broadcast Booth After Season". CBS News New York. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  9. "Tim McCarver Retirement: Joe Buck's Send-Off for Broadcasting Partner Was Classy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2013.
  10. Langosch, Jennifer (December 8, 2013). "St. Louis Cardinals set to add Tim McCarver to broadcast team". MLB.com.
  11. Caesar, Dan (March 7, 2014). "McCarver completes deal for 30 Cards games on FSM". STLtoday.com. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  12. Justin Terranova (October 20, 2014). "Tim McCarver: 'Quasi-retirement could not have worked out any better'". Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  13. Hummel, Rick (July 16, 2020). "McCarver opts out of Cardinals telecasts this season". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  14. Lucia, Joe (April 1, 2022). "Tim McCarver is retiring as a broadcaster". Awful Announcing.
  15. McEntegart, Pete (January 14, 2007). "The 10 Spot". sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  16. McCarron, Anthony (October 8, 2008). "Tim McCarver calls Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez 'despicable'". New York Daily News. nydailynews.com. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  17. "McCarver calls comments inappropriate". July 20, 2010.
  18. "Books and CD - The Tim McCarver Show".
  19. https://www.allmusic.com/album/r1687494
  20. "Tim McCarver". irishbaseballhall.com. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
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