Longtime St. Louis Cardinal broadcaster John Rooney will be starting his 14th season in the Cardinal booth in 2019.
Rooney served as the emcee at Friday evening’s Cardinal Caravan event at Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters in Jefferson City. A few hundred Cardinal fans braved frigid temperatures to attend the event.
Rooney, who began broadcasting Cardinal games in 2006 after 18 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, grew up in northwest Missouri’s Richmond.
“It was great growing up in Richmond and really growing up in this part of the country, because back then we listened to a lot of baseball on transistor radios,” Rooney says.
Rooney says he listened to Cardinal radio broadcasts growing up, as well as the Kansas City Athletics, Twins and Phillies. He says he learned different styles by listening to different broadcasts and became “hooked” on baseball.
He credits Royals broadcasters Bud Blattner (Blattner died in 2009) and Denny Matthews for helping him early in his career. He also says he learned from the late Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, current Cardinal broadcaster Mike Shannon and former Cardinal announcer Bob Starr. Mr. Starr died in 1998.
Rooney says his broadcast partner Mike Shannon should be in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“He needs to be in Cooperstown, he needs to be honored because he is one of the beloved team announcers who has the longevity,” says Rooney.
Rooney says Shannon deserves the Ford Frick Award, which is Major League Baseball’s highest award for broadcasters.
Shannon, who graduated from St. Louis’ Christian Brothers College (CBC) High School in 1957, began his career with the Cardinals in 1962.
As for Rooney, he also called Mizzou men’s basketball at one time. While he’s also called NFL and college football, Rooney is best known for baseball.
He says his popular home run call “it’s a goner” originated from an incident near his hometown.
“My mom and I were almost in a big accident coming up the hill near Excelsior Springs, Missouri going toward Richmond and an impaired driver cut that corner and missed us by like a foot,” Rooney says. “Mom said had we been a couple a seconds earlier we all would have been goners.”
Rooney tells Missourinet he used that phrase on home runs in the minor leagues and it’s stayed with him. He doesn’t use it on every home run call.
Cardinal pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Jupiter on February 12, and St. Louis opens the 2019 season on March 28 at Milwaukee.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Cardinal broadcaster John Rooney, which was recorded on January 18, 2019 at Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters in Jefferson City:
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