As the public address announcer at three Rangers ballparks,
Morgan is on schedule to achieve a very significant milestone on September 26.
Arlington, Texas–On April 4, 1983, a former Nashville DJ announced the starting lineups for the Texas Rangers season opener with the Chicago White Sox at Arlington Stadium in his debut as a Major League Baseball public address announcer.
Chuck Morgan has not missed a game behind the microphone since.
On Saturday, September 26, when the Rangers host the Houston Astros at Globe Life Field, Morgan is scheduled to call his 3000th consecutive regular-season game in the PA booth. Of his 38 years on the job, 37 have been working in three ballparks in Arlington: Arlington Stadium (1983-94), Globe Life Park in Arlington (1994-2001; 2003-19), and Globe Life Field (2020). He spent the 2002 season as the in-park voice of the Kansas City Royals.
While official records are not available, there is no doubt this is the longest consecutive games streak among current MLB public address announcers. In his 49th year doing PA for the Philadelphia Phillies, Dan Baker has missed games along the way. All-time numbers are inconclusive, but they think that Chicago Cubs legendary announcer Pat Pieper did every home game at Wrigley Field from 1924 until he died in 1974.
Morgan’s streak does not include 25 Texas Rangers playoff games, the 1995 MLB All-Star Game, or several exhibition and college games that he called in the 26-year baseball life of Globe Life Park. They scheduled Morgan to do the PA for up to 19 games in the 2020 NLDS, NLCS, and 116th World Series, at Globe Life Field.
The Rangers will join the City of Arlington to honor Morgan once Saturday’s game becomes official. Texas closes its 2020, 30-game home regular-season schedule with a four-game series against Houston, Thursday and Friday, September 24-25 at 7:05 pm, Saturday, September 26 at 6:05 pm, and Sunday, September 27 at 2:05 pm.
Q AND A WITH CHUCK MORGAN
What was your first experience as a public address announcer?
When I was 14, I had just finished playing a Pony League Game at Ray Fosse Park in my hometown of Marion, Illinois. I was buying some baseball cards at the concession stand when the Little League games’ PA announcer asked me if I would be willing to announce the 8:00 pm Little League Game. And he said the magic words. I will get you some packs of baseball cards for filling in. So I filled in that night and did more games after that.
How and why did you make a move from Nashville to Arlington?
Former Rangers Vice President of Marketing Larry Schmittou, for whom I had worked with the Nashville Sounds, had taken a job with the Rangers in 1983 and called me one day, and he said, ‘I know it’s a shot in the dark, but you would be interested in working for the Texas Rangers?’ At the time, I had a lot going on in Nashville. I had a late-night country music radio show on a nationwide network and had just been named the Country Music Association’s Major Market Disc Jockey of the Year. I was hosting several country music television shows and announcing at the Grand Ole Opry. I first turned Larry down but got to thinking about it and my love baseball and a chance to be a part of Major League Baseball Well, I changed my mind and decided to join Larry in Texas. It was a difficult decision, but one that I am glad I made. But I did know that I couldn’t just be the PA announcer in Texas and that I needed to do more. I had been Larry’s PA announcer when he started the Double-A Nashville Sounds in 1977. Having never sold anything before, Larry brought me in to sell program ads, promotions, and suites. The following year, we added a Diamond Vision video board. It was a natural fit for me to become the producer of programming for the video board with my radio and TV background.
During this consecutive games streak, what have been your closest calls to missing games?
I haven’t had many. There was a chilly, rainy morning in May of 2002 during my one year in Kansas City, and the Royals had a day game scheduled for 1 pm. When I got up that morning, I felt terrible, I still made it to the ballpark, but as I was getting ready for the game, I kept thinking ‘I am not going to make it through this game’ I had a headache, some chills, and probably a fever. But they called the game due to rain, and I was good to go the next day. In the summer of 2013, they told me I needed neck fusion surgery immediately, and it could not wait until the season was over. We found a few days when the team was on the road to get it done. The surgery was on a Friday, and one week later, I was back in the booth.
Did any public address announcers influence your style?
The first was probably Charlie Jones at the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. I watched him from the seats, and he sat right behind home plate. During the lineups, he would repeat the names similar to what I do now. My dad told me he did that so fans could write the player’s names down on their scorecard. Growing up, I was a big fan of Wilt Chamberlain. While listening to the St. Louis Hawks on the radio from Philadelphia, I could hear the 76ers PA announcer Dave Zinkoff in the background. When Hal Greer would make a basket, he would say “basket by Greeeeeeeeeeer!” Years later, I would use that when I introduced Rusty Greer, maybe not as long as an introduction, as Zinkoff would do, but it was close. But I carried that style with me to the Grand Ole Opry, it wasn’t PA announcing, but I introduced a lot of country stars in the fashion of Charlie Jones and David Zinkoff. While he wasn’t a PA announcer, Harry Caray also was a significant influence on me. And Bob Sheppard. When I was a kid, we would get the Yankee Game of the Week on TV, and I could hear Mr. Sheppard in the background of the broadcast and loved the way introduced Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Yogi Berra. Mr. Sheppard was another one of those that announced the name twice so that the fan could write the name down on their scorecard.
What are your most incredible memories behind the mike?
–In 1979, when the Nashville Sounds became affiliated with the New York Yankees, Larry (Schmittou) arranged with George Steinbrenner for me to go to New York and do a game in Yankee Stadium and spend time with Bob Sheppard.
–Another memory is the chance to introduce some of the players that made their last visits to Arlington, such as Carl Yastrzemski, Reggie Jackson, and Carlton Fisk.
–The first game in at The Ballpark in Arlington in 1994.
–The 1995 All-Star Game and 2010-11 World Series in that park with the opportunity to do the starting lineups on nationwide TV.
–The chance to announce significant accomplishments by players–Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout, Rafael Palmeiro’s 500th home run, Kenny Rogers’ Perfect Game, Sammy Sosa’s 600th home run, and Adrian’ Beltre’s s 3,000th hit.
How has the role of a Major League PA announcer evolved over your 38 years in the job?
I don’t think it’s changed that much. I am still here to inform the lineups, player changes, pitching changes, and other information pertinent to the game. There was a time when I was the timekeeper between innings in the multiple efforts to speed up the game. Now I watch the in-stadium clock with a specific time to introduce player. Another significant change was the replay rule. It’s now the announcer’s job to let the fans know the umpires ruling on the field. But for me, I have taken the role a little further and become an ambassador for baseball and the Rangers with the fans.
How would you describe your philosophy about the role and impact you have on a game?
My philosophy hasn’t changed much over the years. I don’t ever want to do anything to take away from the game on the field. That is the most important thing that happens in the ballpark. Hopefully, a fan leaves the ballpark, and I didn’t do anything to take away from their enjoyment of the game, and they received the information they needed to enjoy that game.
Quick takes on Rangers ballpark favorites:
–It’s Baseball Time in Texas
When I first came to Texas, the Rangers legendary radio broadcaster Mark Holtz would come on the air and say that phrase. When Mark passed away in 1997, I thought I would carry on that tradition out of respect to him. He was a great friend, and he is one of the best I have ever heard of doing baseball play by play.
After he had been to a game in Oklahoma City in the spring of 1987, Jim Reeves told me about a race they had in the ballpark that made fans go crazy. Jim suggested we should do something like that on the video board. It took me about a month of testing and creating to come up with something that I thought would work on the video board. I built a real track out of model railroad grass and the track out of cinnamon. I put the track under a camera and used a character generator to produce the dots. And the dot race was born. Even to this day, we have never run the same race.
–Cotton Eyed Joe during 7th inning stretch
On my first day in March 1983, Mary Ann Bosher, our Director of Tickets, told me that the Rangers had one tradition and I had better not change it. That was to play Cotton Eyed Joe in the 7th inning Stretch. I have a lot of respect for ballpark traditions, so I have followed Mary Ann’s advice since day one.
–Players’ walk-up music
Technology has made this possible. When I first came to Texas, and we were playing records, walk-up music was not easy. In 1984, having been in radio for a long time, I brought in broadcast cartridges, then CDs came along and in the early 1990s, digital music. Suddenly, you could play music by hitting a touchscreen or clicking a mouse. Players changed with the technology. They learned we could play multiple songs in multiple situations, and we could change out quickly. We try to take care of all of the players’ requests and do everything we can to make them feel at home.
Longest Tenures—Current MLB Public Address Announcers
Years PA Announcer Team(s)
49 Dan Baker Philadelphia
38 Chuck Morgan Texas (37); Kansas City (1)
38 John Ulett St. Louis
34 Tom Hutyler Seattle
33 Tim DeBacco Pittsburgh
31 Gene Honda Chicago White Sox
Morgan’s regular-season consecutive games streak by the stadium
through September 20, 2020
890—Arlington Stadium, April 4, 1983-October 3, 1993
622—The Ballpark in Arlington, April 11, 1994-Sept. 26, 2001
81—Kauffman Stadium, April 1-Sept. 26, 2002
1,378—The Ballpark in Arlington, Ameriquest Field in Arlington, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Globe Life Park in Arlington, April 3, 2003-September 29, 2019
26—Globe Life Field in Arlington, July 24-September 20, 2020
– RANGERS –