Even if you weren't an Atlanta Braves fan growing up in 70s and 80s, chances are the voices of Ernie Johnson Sr., Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren provided the soundtrack to some of your favorite baseball memories.
At a time when every baseball game wasn't available with the flip of a channel or at the touch of a button of your phone, they were seemingly always there thanks to Ted Turner's Superstation TBS to give fans their baseball fix. And together, those three always provided what fans were looking for, even if the game didn't.
Sadly, all three of those distinguished voices are now silenced after Pete Van Wieren died on Saturday following a battle with cancer. He was 69.
Van Wieren called Braves games on television and radio for 33 seasons before retiring following the 2008 season. In his later years, he worked alongside Don Sutton, Joe Simpson and Skip Caray's son, Chip Caray. He earned the nickname “The Professor,” not only for his baseball knowledge, which was extensive, but because he could handle any sports assignment Turner Sports needed.
During his tenure, he also broadcasted Atlanta Hawks games and other NBA games, as well the NHL and Big Ten Conference football games.
On Braves broadcasts, it seemed they never had a set role for their announcers. You were just as likely to hear Van Wieren calling the action as you were providing color commentary, but it never mattered. You simply enjoyed and trusted the commentary he was providing and were thankful it was there. Especially if you were a fan of a National League team that wasn't close to home, but happened to be playing the Braves.
Van Wieren was also the voice of most of Chipper Jones Hall of Fame worthy career. On Saturday, Jones tweeted his condolences.
It's a sad day in baseball, and it's an especially sad day for sports fans in Atlanta. But Pete Van Wieren's voice is one that many of us will never forget.
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