2017-05-11 / Sports

BASEBALL’S BEST

Turn your radio on for baseball
By LAMAR GARRARD
baseball historian

“In radio, they say, nothing happens until the announcer says it happens.” – Ernie Harwell, Washington, Georgia, native and Baseball Hall of Fame announcer

Listening to the radio has always been my favorite if there was a decision between that or watching television. This could be because most of us in my generation did not even have a TV in our homes until we were almost teenagers or after. We started out early listening to the old wooden box with lighted tubes in them, static and all. It was a joy.

Last week I was honored to appear in Thomson, Georgia, as guest of show host and long time announcer, Ralph Starling. This was my second time there and I can attest that sharing the mike with this legendary gentleman is a real treat. Ralph is a Thomson native and a graduate of Thomson High School. He is a local icon. His many years of service to Thomson High School, the community of Thomson, and his church, along with his employment at Queensborough Bank have made him a household name in McDuffie County and beyond.

Ralph has two shows back-toback every Thursday evening starting at 7 p.m. on WTHO, 101.7 FM i n Thomson. I was on the show called “What A Wonderful World.” That’s the title of the show’s theme song sung by the great Louie Armstrong. Can you hear it: “I see trees of green, red roses too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I say to myself, what a wonderful world.” With a song like that you know the show is good.

It is more than good, it is guaranteed enjoyable. His second show every Thursday is called “Sports Talk With Coach And Ralph,” which Ralph co-hosts with longtime Thomson High School coach, John Barnett. John who is retired now as is Ralph, is probably best noted for being an assistant football coach for Luther Welsh, one of the winningest football coaches anywhere.

Our topic for the evening was baseball and Ralph is a storehouse of knowledge on the subject. He asked me to name my all-time starting-nine major league team and I did. That is an impossible task. I will tell you that Ty Cobb was at the head of my list. Ralph and I agreed on several of each other’s picks except he had a starting pitcher named Greg Maddux on his list and I agreed totally.

Ralph remembers going to the Old Jennings Stadium in Augusta in 1963 and seeing a Detroit pitcher on a rehab assignment, the great Frank Lary. He said his favorite Atlanta Braves moment was the Sid Bream slide in 1992 to win the National League Championship. And the best athlete he has ever seen is Thomson’s own Ray Guy.

I highly recommend listening to both of Mr. Starling’s shows every Thursday evening.

As my wife said when we left the studio together, “Ralph’s radio voice is as smooth as silk and he is a complete Southern Gentleman.” To that I can only add, “What a wonderful world.”

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