FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2016, file photo, San Diego Padres broadcaster Dick Enberg waves to crowd at a retirement ceremony prior to the Padres’ final home baseball game of the season, against the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

Longtime sportscaster Dick Enberg found dead at home at 82

Family became concerned when Enberg didn’t arrive on his flight to Boston.

Dick Enberg, a Hall of Fame broadcaster known as much for his excited calls of “Oh my!” as the big events he covered during a 60-year career, has died. He was 82.

Enberg’s daughter, Nicole Enberg Vaz, confirmed the death to The Associated Press. She said the family became concerned when her father didn’t arrive Thursday on his flight to Boston, and he was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighbourhood, with his bags packed.

His daughter said the family believes Enberg died of a heart attack but was awaiting official word.

“It’s very, very, very shocking,” said Vaz, who lives in Boston. “He’d been busy with two podcasts and was full of energy.”

Enberg’s wife, Barbara, already was in Boston and was expecting his arrival.

The family “is grateful for the kind thoughts and prayers of all of Dick’s countless fans and dear friends,” according to a statement released by Enberg’s attorney, Dennis Coleman. “At this time we are all still processing the significant loss, and we ask for prayers and respectful privacy in the immediate aftermath of such untimely news.”

Enberg got his big break with UCLA basketball and went on to call Super Bowls, Olympics, Final Fours and Angels and Padres baseball games as well as Rams football games.

He retired from his TV job with the Padres in October 2016, capping a six-decade career punctuated with countless calls of “Oh my!” in describing big plays. He also was well known for his baseball catchphrase of “Touch ‘em all!” for home runs.

“Dick was an institution in the industry for 60 years and we were lucky enough to have his iconic voice behind the microphone for Padres games for nearly a decade,” Padres owners Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler said in a statement.

Raised in Armada, Michigan, Enberg’s first radio job was actually as a radio station custodian in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, when he was a junior at Central Michigan. He made $1 an hour. The owner also gave him weekend sports and disc jockey gigs, also at $1 an hour. From there he began doing high school and college football games.

During his nine years broadcasting UCLA basketball, the Bruins won eight NCAA titles. Enberg broadcast nine no-hitters, including two by San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum against the Padres in 2013 and 2014.

He said the most historically important event he covered was “The Game of the Century,” Houston’s victory over UCLA in 1968 that snapped the Bruins’ 47-game winning streak.

“That was the platform from which college basketball’s popularity was sent into the stratosphere,” Enberg said just before retiring from the Padres. “The ‘79 game, the Magic-Bird game, everyone wants to credit that as the greatest game of all time. That was just the booster rocket that sent it even higher. … UCLA, unbeaten; Houston, unbeaten. And then the thing that had to happen, and Coach Wooden hated when I said this, but UCLA had to lose. That became a monumental event.”

Enberg’s many former broadcast partners included Merlin Olsen, Al McGuire, Billy Packer, Don Drysdale and Tony Gwynn. He even worked a few games with Wooden, whom he called “The greatest man I’ve ever known other than my own father.”

Enberg called Padres games for seven seasons and went into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2015 as the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award.

“There will never be another Dick Enberg,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said. “As the voice of generations of fans, Dick was a masterful storyteller, a consummate professional and a true gentleman. He was one of the true legends of our business.”

John Ireland, the radio voice of the Los Angeles Lakers, tweeted : “If there was a Mount Rushmore of LA Sports Announcers, Dick Enberg is on it with Chick Hearn, Vin Scully and Bob Miller. Rams, Angels, UCLA, NBC, and so much more. Was the first famous announcer I ever met, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Definition of a gentleman.”

Enberg won 13 Sports Emmy Awards and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and UCLA named its Media Center in Pauley Pavilion after Enberg this year.

At halftime of a UCLA game in February, former Bruins stars Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes presented Enberg with a No. 8 jersey, signifying the number of championships he called.

“That’s not going to happen again,” Enberg said before the game. “Who was looking over me? To be able to come in and ride the Wooden Wave.”

“Kindest, most proactive possible treatment of newcomers in this business, for the length of his career,” broadcaster Keith Olbermann said of Enberg on Twitter . “What a terrible loss.”

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce said flowers will be placed Friday on Enberg’s star on the Walk of Fame.

Bernie Wilson, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

FILE - In this May 21, 2016, file photo, sportscaster Dick Enberg acknowledges the crowd during the first inning of a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2016, file photo, Dick Enberg, the voice of the San Diego Padres, poses in his booth prior to the Padres’ final home baseball game of the season in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

Just Posted

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

Municipality expects decision to cause $150,000 shorfall this year

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Sound of Music echoes with a surprising amount of cool

Chemainus Theatre review: my teenage self didn’t know what he was missing

Robert Barron column: Thanks to municipal workers during snow storm

I’ve always wondered how anything gets done when mounds of snow fall from the sky.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Police dog tracks suspect through wintry Vancouver Island backcountry

Assault suspect arrested after two-hour track by Nanaimo RCMP police dog Jager

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

B.C. child killer denied mandatory outings from psychiatric hospital

The B.C. Review Board decision kept things status quo for Allan Schoenborn

Searchers return to avalanche-prone peak in Vancouver to look for snowshoer

North Shore Rescue, Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog teams and personnel will be on Mt. Seymour

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Most Read