Brennaman's Voice Will Be Missed, But Not His Outdated Opinions
Numbers Are Far More Important Than Likability
A Player With One MVP Award Does Not Trump A Contemporary With Seven
As one of Major League Baseball's greatest broadcasters winds down his career with fewer than a dozen more games, it is rather unfortunate that he still refuses to acknowledge the greatest player to ever wear a uniform in that fifty year radio stint. Cincinnati's Hall of Fame baseball voice reiterated that fact during a game last Wednesday, when the topic of the greatest player came up.
It was Marty Brennaman himself who asked his guest, mlb.com reporter Mark Sheldon, for an opinion about the best player of his lifetime. Naturally Sheldon responded with Barry Bonds, the all-time leader in career home runs, single season home runs, and the highest total of Most Valuable Player honors.
The voice of the Reds since 1974 vehemently disagreed, stating that Bonds was a cheater. It was a disappointing response from a highly-respected announcer, especially one who has earned legendary status essentially because of his intelligence and objectivity.
He immediately dismissed Sheldon's very true statement that the pitchers Bonds faced were juiced, thereby leveling the playing field.
"I'm not talking about pitchers," Brennanan remarked, as though Sheldon's justification were completely irrelevant. The latter simply let the stubborn curmudgeon off the hook, undoubtedly due to his respect for the Hall of Fame broadcaster.
Sheldon could have easily recited the numbers that clearly prove Bonds as the greatest player in the past fifty years, such as 762 home runs, seven MVPs, three batting titles, and twelve Silver Slugger awards. Those statistics would certainly have trumped the man Brennaman cited as his choice for greatest player, Cincinnati native Ken Griffey, Jr.
His career numbers in every offensive category pale compared to those of Bonds, including over a hundred fewer homers and a fifteen point dip in batting average. Oh yeah, and Marty's selection as greatest earned a whopping one MVP award, meaning Griffey was only the best player for one season instead of an entire generation.
As a resident of Cincinnati I have been saddened since hearing of Marty Brennaman's retirement, having basically grown up listening to his broadcasts. After his stubborn refusal to acknowledge the greatest baseball player in the past fifty years, one who like Griffey never failed a drug test, I am kind of glad that he is leaving the game before he is even further out of touch.