29 December 2014

how about that black armband for mel allen?

mel allen, the voice of the yankees, was better known to me as the host of 'this week in baseball'.  his trademark phrase 'how about that' was a staple of the show that, along with baseball cards, helped me learn about the game and its players as a young fan in the late 1970's.  allen passed away at the age of 83 in july of 1996, and the yankees added a black armband to their left sleeves in his honor.

here's a 1997 pacific card of darryl strawberry with the armband peeking through
and here's cecil fielder's 1997 pinnacle new card which also gives a glimpse of the armband
the back of the card gives a better view, actually
wade boggs' 1997 topps card is a good example
as is strawberry's 1997 topps stadium club card
that's a nice card even without the armband, as it captures the aftermath of strawberry's career home run number 300, a walk-off job against the royals.  

the card in the memorials binder, however, is this 1997 upper deck card of derek jeter
which features a photo taken a month or so following allen's death.

allen had begun his baseball broadcasting career with the 1938 world series, and he became a part of the yankees' (and giants') broadcasting team during the 1939 season. he took over the main play-by-play responsibilities for both teams in 1940 and continued to do so until he enlisted in world war ii.  following his service, allen returned to the booth - this time for the yankees only.  he wound up calling every world series from 1946 through 1963, as well as pretty much every all-star game during his tenure with the yankees plus some college and nfl football games, too.

allen was fired by the yankees after the 1964 season, although he was still invited to events such as old-timer's games and number retirement ceremonies. he eventually returned to do some broadcasting for the club in the late 1970's and remained a part of the crew into the 1980's.  his 'this week in baseball' hosting duties lasted from the show's inception in 1977 until his death.

No comments: