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Chris Schenkel dead at 82

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  • Chris Schenkel dead at 82

    Sportscaster Chris Schenkel dies at 82

    By RICK CALLAHAN
    Associated Press Writer




    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Sportscaster Chris Schenkel, whose easygoing baritone won over fans during a more than six-decade broadcasting career in which he covered everything from bowling to the Olympics, died Sunday following a long battle with emphysema. He was 82.

    Schenkel's wife, Fran, said she and the couple's two sons were at her husband's side when he passed away early Sunday at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he had been hospitalized for two weeks after undergoing surgery for a bleeding ulcer.

    "He was a very, very sincere, loving man who loved what he did," said Fran Schenkel, noting that they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in January.

    Schenkel's radio and television career included virtually every major sports competition and several pioneering broadcasts.



    He was the first to cover the Masters Tournament on television, in 1956; the first to call a college football game coast to coast on ABC; and the first to serve as live sports anchor from the Olympics, in Mexico City in 1968.

    His career highlights included calling gymnast Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10 at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, and calling the 1958 NFL championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.

    He was also the longtime voice of the Professional Bowlers Association, entertaining a generation of viewers with his Saturday afternoon broadcasts.

    George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports, called Schenkel a pioneering sportscaster and a "true gentleman."

    "Everyone at ABC and ESPN mourns the loss of a great friend and colleague. Chris was a pioneer in sports television and was the pre-eminent play-by-play announcer to a generation of sports fans," Bodenheimer said in a statement. "More importantly, he was a true gentleman, beloved by all. He treated everyone with respect and friendship."

    Schenkel was born Aug. 21, 1923, on his parents' farm in Bippus, Ind., one of six children. His parents, second generation German immigrants, managed a grain and feed business.

    He attended Purdue University and fought in the Philippines during World War II and later in Korea, as an infantry platoon leader. He returned home to find a radio job in Richmond, Ind., before moving into television in Providence, R.I.

    In 1947, he assumed TV play-by-play duties for Harvard University football. Schenkel was hired by CBS in 1952 and began a 13-year run as the television voice of the New York Giants that included calling the 1958 NFL championship game with Chuck Thompson. He joined ABC Sports in 1965.

    Schenkel also had a long association with the Indianapolis 500. During the 1971 race, Schenkel, astronaut John Glenn and Tony Hulman, the late owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, were passengers in the Dodge Challenger pace car when it skidded into a bleacher full of photographers.

    Twenty-two people were injured, including Schenkel.

    Schenkel was inducted into 16 halls of fame, including the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters and College and Pro Football halls, and he won an Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1993.

    During the past couple of years, Fran Schenkel said her husband received numerous letters from soldiers serving in Iraq whom she said apparently had seen some of his film appearances. Aside from his work on sports documentaries, Schenkel portrayed himself in several films, including the 1996 comedy "Kingpin."

    "They must have been showing a lot of his films in Iraq. We got a lot of mail from the soldiers over there. They'd ask for a picture and we'd send them and write back to the boys," Fran Schenkel said. "He felt very good about it."

    In addition to his wife, Schenkel is survived by sons Ted and John, daughter Tina and several grandchildren
    But wait. There is something that can be done afterall. My good friend Angelo is a cop in the Tampa/Clearwater area. Since I kept all of the files from the access logs when I had the power to see them, guess what, I have everyone's IP addresses. Hmm..what can I do w/ those??
    ...

  • #2
    he brought us a lot of great calls

    may he rest in peace
    Go Cards ...12 in 13.


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    • #3
      Class Act. May he rest in peace.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jack Daniels@Sep 11 2005, 07:18 PM
        Class Act. May he rest in peace.
        ++

        "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
        Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
        -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

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        • #5
          kinda suprised they did not get a quote from Bo. Great voice. We bowlers kinda felt he was ours and the rest of you borrowed him from time to time

          Official Sponsor of Marco Gonzales and the Productive Out!!!


          Said the Quangle Wangle Quee

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jhanke@Sep 11 2005, 08:44 PM
            kinda suprised they did not get a quote from Bo. Great voice. We bowlers kinda felt he was ours and the rest of you borrowed him from time to time
            That's really what I remember him best for. PBA every Sat afternoon.
            Official sponsor of Mike Shannon's Retirement Party

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            • #7
              Very nice person; great announcer...grew up listening to him on the PBA telecasts every Saturday. Like hanke said: we bowlers loaned him to you...just as nice in person as he was on the air. :(

              Dat's right!

              Official Lounge Dog
              Official Lounge sponsor of Bryce Salvador
              Official Lounge sponsor of Cardinalgirl

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rdog3933@Sep 11 2005, 11:24 PM
                Very nice person; great announcer...grew up listening to him on the PBA telecasts every Saturday. Like hanke said: we bowlers loaned him to you...just as nice in person as he was on the air. :(
                I even grew up listening to him. Didn't have nearly as many years as you all did though.

                This has not been a good year for historical bowling figures.
                FML

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                • #9
                  I believe he used to team with Bud Wilkenson for colege football games back in the late 60's and early 70's.

                  The voices were so great from that day:

                  Aside for Schenkel, there was Curt Gowdy, Lindey Nelson, and other guys who shaped my interest in sports.
                  Make America Great For Once.

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