Friday, May 18, 2007

The Voice of God Is Back

Roy Steele, the PA announcer at the Oakland Coliseum for the A's is back this season after more than a year absence. Roy is easily the second most recognizable (next to the Yankees' Bob Shepherd) PA voice in baseball. He started doing the stadium PA in 1968 when the A's moved here from Kansas City. He had a health issue that apparently included some form of acid reflux that affected his voice.

Steele has lived with the nickname "the Voice of God" for almost his entire career. A young radio announcer for the A's in 1970, named Jon Miller - yes, that Jon Miller - was in the stands one game and his booming, baritone voice came over the PA system. It sounded to Miller like it was the voice of God. The rest is history, as they say.

I have attended nearly 500 A's games in my life, and Roy is truly one of those memorable fixtures of my life. I, just like Jon Miller, do a pretty mean imitation of Roy. I loved his announcement of Jose Canseco the best. Dave Stewart and Mark McGwire were up there too, as was Shooty Babbitt.

He's predictable in many ways, which makes a great part of his personality. He always gave the starting lineups by starting with, "Leading off for the Athletics, number xx,..." then would say, "batting second," "batting third," etc, all the way through ninth. Except for fifth, which he would start out, "In the fifth position, number 39, Daaaaaaave Parker...designated hitter." With the DH in the AL, he would conclude with, "Warming up in the bullpen, today's starting pitcher for the Athletics, number 34, Daaaaave Stewart."

If you've never heard Roy Steele, book the next flight to Oakland and enjoy. Welcome back, Roy.

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