R.I.P Bill Campbell (1923-2014)

Let’s all take a moment from our campaign to remember Bill Campbell, the legendary broadcaster who passed away Monday at the age of 91.

It was just a few short weeks ago that we asked Bill to write a testimonial on behalf of Dick Allen’s election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In just a matter of a day or two, this is what Bill wrote:

June 18, 2014
To the Nominating and Voting Committees of the MLB 2014 Golden Era Ballot:
I have been in the sports broadcasting business for close to 70 years. In 1963 I became the play-by-play voice for the Philadelphia Phillies until 1969. During that time I had the pleasure to meet Dick Allen, who still today will go out of his way to come and say hello to me some 45 years later. Mr. Allen was and still is a true gentleman who treated me with nothing but respect.
When I think of Dick Allen, the first thing that comes to my mind was his tremendous power. I could honestly say he was the most powerful hitter I ever saw. Unfortunately people overlooked his overall baseball skills.
Whether it was a fan, ballplayer or member of the media they always wanted to talk about his power. I clearly understand why that would be the primary conversation piece since most of my highlight reel radio calls are of Dick Allen’s majestic blasts.
Getting back to his ability, Allen was a well-tooled player. He could run, hit for average, hit with power, field and could also throw until an injury to his right shoulder hindered his ability to do so at an above average rate.
During my broadcasting days I saw all the great players; including Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell , Willie McCovey and Stan Musial. Believe me when I tell you that I have no problem putting Dick Allen right up against all of them.
There are not many players in the game of baseball, that when they walked up to home plate the people in the stands would stop what they were doing to just focus in on the batter. They stopped because they never knew what they may witness. It was that mystique of the potential of Allen to hit the ball 500 ft. It is that mystique and his overall baseball talents that give him the credentials to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Yes, Richard Anthony “Dick” Allen should definitely be in The Hall Of Fame.
Sincerely, Bill Campbell.

Nailed it, didn’t he?

For those of us who grew up listening to Bill broadcast games on the radio and television, there was no one better. His calls of Dick’s mammoth home runs are burned into our memories. His enthusiasm was genuine.

In reading some of the coverage in today’s papers, some interesting facts came out. Of course, we know he was behind the mic for Wilt’s 100-point game in in 1962. From Sam Carchidi’s piece in The Inquirer today:

“In to Chamberlain. He made it! He made it! He made it! A dipper dunk! He made it! The fans are all over the floor.! They’ve stopped the game. People are running out on the court. One hundred points for Wilt Chamberlain!”

Classic!

But did you know Bill was int he business so long he once did a radio show with Connie Mack when he was managing the Philadelphia A’s? (Thanks to Sam for that nugget.)

How many hot summer nights did we sit on a porch in Southwest Philly listening to Bill do his thing? It didn’t matter if the Phils were good or bad, winning or losing. We listened because Bill made it sound like the most important thing in the world at the time with that raspy, jumbled up voice of his.

No one made “Oh baby” sound better than Bill.

So now he’s up in the that big broadcast booth in the sky, sitting next to By and Richie, interrupting his read of a Ballentine commercial when Dick Allen swings his mighty warclub: “There she goes…!”

Thanks for the memories, Bill.

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