Photo: Jason Fochtman
Astros Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton passed away this morning in Houston. He was 88 years old.
Hamilton’s 60 seasons of broadcasting Major League Baseball are second all-time to Vin Scully’s record of 66 seasons. Although he broadcast for other clubs, Hamilton is best known for his long tenure as the radio voice of the Houston Astros. Hamilton joined the Astros radio broadcast team in 1985, and would remain as the primary, play-by-play voice until his retirement following the 2012 season. Following his retirement, Hamilton served as a guest radio commentator for select Astros home games from 2013-15, with his final stint in the booth coming this season on Sunday, June 28, during the Astros-Yankees game at Minute Maid Park.
Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan released the following statement regarding Hamilton’s passing:
“Today, the entire Astros family and many throughout the baseball world are mourning the loss of our friend, Milo Hamilton. For decades, Milo had a special connection with the Houston community, bringing Astros baseball to the cars and homes of fans throughout the great state of Texas and beyond. During his legendary career, we enjoyed the privilege of Milo calling some of the greatest moments in Astros history. In addition to his great work in the booth, Milo was also an outstanding ambassador for Astros baseball, a mantle he carried with a great deal of pride. While we mourn his sad passing, we should also celebrate Milo’s long, wonderful career. He was one of the all-time greats and a true icon whose contributions to the game and beyond will be remembered always.”
The Astros will announce plans to honor Hamilton’s legacy in the near future.
Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Milo Hamilton, the Frick Award-winning Houston Astros broadcaster and team advisor, who was 88:
“During his 60 years covering our game, Milo became one of the National Pastime’s most distinguished announcers, serving seven different Major League Clubs. He chronicled some of our game’s most historic moments during the era of Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Ernie Banks. As ‘The Voice of the Astros’ since 1985, he ushered into the homes of fans Houston’s first World Series appearance, the Hall of Fame careers of Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio, and countless other memories.
“I enjoyed spending time with Milo during my trip to Houston earlier in this resurgent season for the Astros, and it was a pleasure to correspond with him in recent months. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Milo’s family, friends, admirers throughout the game and to all Astros fans.”
Prior to arriving in Houston, Hamilton’s Major League broadcasting career included stints with St. Louis, the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
Globally, Hamilton is widely-known for his radio call of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run on April 8, 1974, while serving as the Braves play-by-play announcer. Hamilton and Aaron had a special bond that remained intact long after he left the Braves organization. When the Astros honored Hamilton’s career with a special night in 2012, Aaron made the trip to Houston to speak at the event.
Other highlights from Hamilton’s illustrious career include calling 11 no-hitters and serving as the play-by-play announcer for the 1979 World Champion Pirates ballclub.
Calls from his Astros career that are immortalized in franchise history include Nolan Ryan’s 4,000th career strikeout, Craig Biggio’s 3,000th hit, Chris Burke’s historic, 18th-inning walkoff home run in Game 4 of the 2005 National League Division Series and the Astros pennant -winning, Game 6 victory at St. Louis in the 2005 NLCS. Hamilton also called the Astros record-setting, six-pitcher no-hitter at Yankee Stadium in 2003.
In 1992, Hamilton received the broadcasting industry’s highest honor, receiving the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Overall, he was inducted in to six Halls of Fame during his illustrious career. In 2009, in honor of his 25th season in Houston, a street outside Minute Maid Park was renamed Milo Hamilton Way by the City of Houston. Later that year, Hamilton was named “King of Baseball” by Minor League Baseball at the Annual MLB Winter Meetings.
Outside the broadcast booth, Hamilton became known for his fine work as a master of ceremonies at Astros-related events and celebrations, including several pregame, player retirement ceremonies. He also served as the host of the Astros Opening Day ceremonies each year, even taking part in the 2015 Opening Day festivities in a reduced role.
For many years, Hamilton also served as the host of the Astros long-running, offseason radio talk show, Astroline, which he hosted up until 2014. Hamilton was also a staple on the Astros Winter Caravan each season, entertaining fans at dozens of locations, with stops as far as Corpus Christi.
“We were extremely fortunate to have Milo as a part of our organization,” said Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane. “An entire generation of Astros fans grew up listening to Milo. He truly is an icon and was synonymous with Astros baseball for many years. Milo was a great asset not only for the Astros, but also for the City of Houston as well.”