Carl Beane kept things simple. As the public address announcer at an iconic ballpark, he knew he didn’t have to say much beyond “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to Fenway Park.”
Beane, who died Wednesday at the age of 59 after suffering a heart attack while driving in Sturbridge, Mass., had been the voice of Fenway since 2003 and through two World Series victories. For a generation of baseball fans, whose relationship with PA and radio and TV announcers is always unique and passionate, his voice was perfect for the time and place.
“This is not one of those ballparks where you need fireworks and an announcer screaming at the fans to get them involved,” Beane said in a 2003 Boston Globe interview. “This is a special place. My job is to welcome them and get out of the way. Don’t do shtick. This is a baseball shrine, and it has to be treated as such.”
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Carl Beane.Stepping up to the plate at Fenway won’t be the same. #VoiceOfFenway— David Ortiz (@davidortiz) May 9, 2012
Beane is survived by his wife, a daughter and two granddaughters and, when the Red Sox return from a road trip for a game tonight in Fenway against the Cleveland Indians, it’s going to be a jolt not to hear Beane’s voice.
“He was something we all got used to. I’ve been here 10 years and I don’t remember hearing any other voice but his calling my name when I go to hit,” Ortiz told the Boston Herald. It’s a sad situation, where there’s no tomorrow, you know what I’m saying? One way or another, all of us, we come to be a family — you guys as reporters, us as players, him as an announcer — everyone became a family here, a family member. When things like that go down, it hurts. It hurts. My prayers go out to his family.”
Yesterday we lost our friend and voice, Carl Beane. Tonight the PA mic will be silent in his memory. #VoiceofFenway— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) May 10, 2012
The job of being a public-address announcer is typically a labor of love; Beane earned $50 a game when he was first hired, ESPN Boston’s Gordon Edes recalled. Beane continued to work as a radio freelancer, “showing up at sporting events all over town, feeding sound to his clients, which included ESPN. He also wrote columns for a string of small weekly papers in western Massachusetts, where he still lived, in Holland. Most nights, he was among the last to leave the press box at Fenway, where he first began covering the Sox in 1977, and the same held true in TD Garden or Gillette Stadium.”
One of Beane’s mentors was Bob Sheppard, the New York Yankees’ legendary PA announcer (“the Voice of God”) who died in 2010 and is remembered for his elegant introduction of Derek Jeter.
“Bob Sheppard had the right idea,” Beane liked to say, according to Edes. “Clear, concise, correct.”