When the phrase “voice of the Twins” is bandied about, one immediately thinks of radio and television personalities—Halsey Hall, Herb Carneal, John Gordon, or Dick Bremer. The usual suspects. But an underrated ear worm for the local sports market is the stadium public address announcer—the narrator of the in-person experience.
Currently, Adam Abrams holds that role for the Minnesota Twins at Target Field and does a wonderful job. When I hear his voice, I’m immediately transported to “ballpark mode”. But his predecessor—Bob Casey—was truly one-of-a-kind and deserving of remembrance 20 years after his Twins Hall of Fame induction.
Remarkably, Casey began his Twins PA tenure in the franchise’s first year of existence—1961. Before that? Ten years with the Minneapolis Millers. But it took until the Metrodome years for his star to really rise.
Ensconced in his hidey-hole behind home plate, Casey realized that a stadium of that ilk needed quirkiness to succeed. So, he birthed “Noooooooooo smoking!”—which Kent Hrbek mimics at team functions to this day—and “Please don’t throw anything or anyBODY onto the playing field” (especially useful for hot dog tossing fiascos).
Of course, Casey is probably best remembered for his player introductions in the days before walk-up music, most notably “Kirbyyyyyyyyyyyyy Puckett!”. I also fondly recall “Cristian Guuuuuuuzman”, whereupon a guy behind home plate would often stand up and blow a goose call. Only the Dome.
Perhaps even more hilarious were Casey’s malapropisms...
Dustan Mohr = Dustin Hoffman
Otis Nixon = Amos Otis
Nomar Garciaparra = Garcia Parra
Clearly, Casey made an impact on those he enunciated for as well...
The one Twins Fest I attended—January 2005 at the Metrodome—I signed a Bob Casey tribute wall as he was fighting liver cancer. Two months later, he passed at the age of 79.
A paramount pursuit of a PA announcer is to generate enthusiasm from the home crowd. Through his quirky persona, sense of humor, and inventive intros, Casey accomplished that like few others. Those who remember him ushering them into their live Twins baseball experience will never forget it.
I’ll leave you with one of the few actual clips I could find of Casey’s pipes. Every time I listen to this 1991 World Series Game 1 starting lineup I get chills—especially when that stocky guy playing CF gets introduced: