Versatile figure covered several sports in all seasons
On Dec. 21, 2017, the sports world lost a true legend when broadcaster Dick Enberg died at the age of 82 after suffering a heart attack.
Beginning in 1957 and lasting until his retirement in 2016 as the play-by-play man for the San Diego Padres, Enberg’s iconic voice provided generations of sports fans with vivid, colorful commentary. Vin Scully, the also-legendary broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers who retired the same year as Enberg, said his contemporary had the best voice he had ever heard and was the greatest ever at the job.
Throughout his illustrious career, Enberg contributed play-by-play duties for Indiana University football and basketball, UCLA basketball, the Los Angeles Rams and the California Angels, as well as for the Padres. As the top broadcaster for the Angels in 1976, he called Hank Aaron’s last baseball game when the then-home run king was with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Enberg truly was a man of all seasons, having covered competitions as varied as Wimbledon, the PGA Championship, heavyweight boxing, the French Open, the Olympics, the NBA, Notre Dame athletics, the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Breeders’ Cup. In addition to his aforementioned stints with Indiana, UCLA and the Rams, he also provided regular play-by-play coverage for the NFL and NCAA basketball, including multiple Super Bowl and Final Four appearances.
With a smooth, one-of-a-kind voice, Enberg always came across as one of your best friends, his passion for his craft palpable in his delivery and his deep knowledge of sports history evident in his commentary – and unmatched by any of his peers, many of whom he influenced. At a time when many media figures have fallen from grace, it is notable that Enberg’s integrity has never been questioned or his character assailed.
Broadcasting has had its share of icons, such as Scully, Chick Hearn, Jack Brickhouse, Ernie Harwell, Pat Summerall, Al Michaels, John Madden and others. But Enberg, who would have turned 83 on Jan. 9, was a true gentleman and a renaissance man, and his impact on his chosen profession and on the world of sports will not be forgotten anytime soon.