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Chuck Thompson, Orioles' Voice For Nearly 30 Years, Dies at 83

Besides his trademark hats, which he began wearing when one of his television bosses took note of his bald head, Mr. Thompson was known for his unflappable, gentlemanly style. He sometimes called ballplayers "mister" and had a habit of backing into sentences, as in, "A terrific change-up, has Dave McNally."

When the Orioles made a spectacular play or won a game, he often blurted out his trademark expressions of joy, "Go to war, Miss Agnes!" or "Ain't the beer cold!" (He used the latter phrase as the title of his 1996 autobiography.)

Long-time Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Chuck Thompson
Long-time Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Chuck Thompson
Chuck Thompson, broadcasting a game in 2000, called Orioles games for the better part of five decades. (Dave Hammond - AP)

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In general, though, his style was precise, with quick, sharp diction that never overshadowed the game.

"I was not a screamer," he told The Post's Leonard Shapiro in 2000. "When I think of the great broadcasters in baseball I've known, you don't find that very often. Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, even Mel Allen. No screamers there."

Mr. Thompson, a native of Pennsylvania, was a big-band singer before beginning his broadcasting career in 1939 while he was a student at Albright College in Reading, Pa. After serving in an Army reconnaissance unit during World War II, he moved to Philadelphia, where he covered baseball, football, basketball and hockey.

For nearly 30 years, he announced almost every Orioles game, on radio or television, except on days when he did play-by-play for NBC's Game of the Week. After retiring in 1987, he returned to his seat high above home plate in 1990 and continued to announce a few games a year until 2000.

Beloved by fans throughout Maryland and Washington, Mr. Thompson was honored at a ceremony before a game in 1991.

"When I introduced Chuck," Miller recalled, "54,000 people gave an ovation that wouldn't quit. It went on for six, seven, eight minutes. To this day, I've never seen anything like that, except for a great ballplayer."

In recent years, Mr. Thompson's eyesight began to fail because of macular degeneration. He became a spokesman for the degenerative eye disease and participated in experimental therapies at Johns Hopkins University.

He lived in Timonium, Md., and later in Mays Park, Md.

He was widowed from his first wife, Rose Thompson.

Survivors include his wife, Betty Thompson; four children; and 12 grandchildren.


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