Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

49ers Bid A High-Pitched, Frenetic Adieu To Joe Starkey

Joe Starkey is retiring as play-by-play voice of the 49ers. Don't recognize the name? He's the broadcaster who always sounds like his testicles are wired to a car battery, as this legendary clip demonstrates.

They simply call it The Play: That game-ending kickoff in 1982 in which Cal scored a multi-lateral touchdown — plowing through the Stanford band in the process — to win the Big Game. John Elways' tearful post-game quote: "The band ruined my college career," was delicious, but nothing helped cement the moment in college history like Starkey's call. Subtlety was never the man's strong suit; any play of any significance was reported as if Martians had just landed on a farm outside of Grovers Mill, New Jersey.


Also, accuracy was not a huge priority. "Gore catches it at the 40 for a three-yard gain; not enough for a first down ... wait, they're giving him EIGHT yards. And that's Johnson, not Gore. Sorry." In other words, the perfect play-by-play guy for San Francisco. The longtime sports director for KGO would for years call a Cal game on Saturday and then trundle off to wherever the 49ers were playing the next day; a schedule that finally got the better of him. He'll continue to call games for Cal, however, although how his larynx ever recovered from that day in 1982 is beyond me.

End Of An Era: Joe Starkey Retires [Santa Rosa Press Democrat]

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