Say Bye to Marty Brennaman with Giveaways and Events at Great American Ball Park in September

The beloved play-by-play broadcaster is retiring after 46 years and the Reds are sending him off in style

Aug 19, 2019 at 9:32 am

click to enlarge Marty Brennaman - Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Reds
Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Reds
Marty Brennaman

Cincinnati Reds play-by-play broadcaster Marty Brennaman is retiring in September after a 46-year career with team. His final broadcast will be Thursday Sept. 26.

“It was important to me that my last regular season broadcast happened at home, so I won’t go to Pittsburgh with the team to finish the season,” Brennaman said in a release. 

The Sept. 26 game will be played against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Having Marty Brennaman’s incredible career come to a close as we are concluding our 150th year of Reds baseball is pretty special,” said Phil Castellini, Reds President and COO.

While his final game takes place at the end of September, the team has several events scheduled leading up to Brennaman's retirement:

  • Sept. 3, 4 and 7, Brennaman will be visiting with fans on the concourses at GABP before the games.
  • Sept. 20, Brennaman will be appearing in a temporary radio booth at Gapper's Alley behind Section 119 for a full-game broadcast  — as well as for pre-game broadcasts Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. “The idea is to bring Marty out of the booth and amongst the fans at Great American Ball Park. Watching Marty host the radio pre-game show or call an inning will be an unforgettable experience,” said Castellini.
  • Sept. 24, the first 20,000 fans will get an oversized replica ticket giveaway that resembles a ticket from Marty’s first Reds broadcast on April 4, 1974.
  • Sept. 25, Brennaman's son Thom will join him in the booth for the entire broadcast. Brennaman's regular radio partner Jeff Brantley will be with him for his broadcasts on Sept. 24 and Sept. 26. “I wanted my final game to be business as usual, doing the broadcast from the booth. It is going to be very emotional for me and I want to savor every moment,”Brennaman said. Also on Sept. 25, the first 20,000 fans will get a commemorative Marty Brennaman print.
  • Sept. 26, the first 20,000 fans will receive a Reds transistor radio. And after the game, there will be a "Marty Party" on the field featuring a special program. Brennaman will be onstage with Jim Day on the pitcher's mound.

Now 76 years old, Brennaman is widely known as “the voice of the Reds.” He joined the Reds organization in 1974 and in the first inning of his very first Reds game, the beloved broadcaster called a historic moment: Hank Aaron’s 714th career home run, which tied Aaron for the all-time record with Babe Ruth. 

Any local who has twisted a radio dial to catch up on Reds action likely finds it hard to imagine the team’s play-by-play without Brennaman’s enthusiastic commentary. Listening to games on WLW this year will be especially bittersweet for a devoted following that’s beyond saddened. Baseball fan or not, Brennaman has had perhaps the most recognizable voice in Cincinnati for nearly half a century. 

Brennaman made the announcement of his retirement at a press conference on Jan. 16. 

“It’s something I’ve thought about a long time; it’s something I’ve anguished over,” Brennaman said. “Nobody loves to do their job more than I do. I love to broadcast baseball, I’ve worked for wonderful people that have been awfully good to me.”

In his time with the Reds, Brennaman has covered three World Series championships and Pete Rose’s journey to becoming MLB’s all-time leader in hits. He was there telling us about Tom Browning’s perfect game as it happened in 1988. He provided commentary for Tom Seaver’s no-hitter in 1978. He called Rose’s record-breaking hit on Sept. 11, 1985. And he was there to broadcast Ken Griffey Jr.’s 500th and 600th career home runs in 2004 and 2008. Brennaman received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

“Now is the right time,” Brennaman continued. “We’re in a business where, if we’re healthy and we don’t make the people we work for mad, and they continue to like your work, and the fans like your work, you can work as long as you want to. It’s a wonderful thing, but it’s also a curse.”

The local icon said he isn’t completely riding off into the sunset, though.

“This is the right time for me to walk away from the broadcasting end of this business,” Brennaman said. “I’m gonna be around, I’m gonna be affiliated with this great organization for years to come. I wouldn’t have it any other way and thank God they feel the same way.”

This season — and in many ways, our love of the Reds, and maybe even Cincinnati baseball itself — belongs to Marty.

The Reds have announced that Brennaman will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum in 2020. 

“Our Board of Directors felt strongly that Marty’s 46-years as the Reds play-by-play announcer along with his efforts supporting the communities throughout Reds Country, and his extensive list of awards and accolades was indeed extraordinary and deserving of his election to the Reds Hall of Fame,” said Rick Walls, Reds Hall of Fame Executive Director.

An on-field induction ceremony will take place April 25, 2020, prior to the Reds vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game. Brennaman will be the first broadcaster to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, which currently features 81 players, five managers and three executives.