Will it take three people to fill Carl Beane's shoes at Fenway Park this summer?
Beane, the voice of the Red Sox since 2003, had a fatal heart attack while driving in Sturbridge in May. His death, at 59, left the Red Sox with a void to fill, emotionally and physically, as the park's public address announcer.
Earlier this month, we confirmed that there were five finalists for the PA position:
Friday morning on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, Gerry Callahan reported that longtime sportscaster Bob Lobel, TV personality/satirist Dick Flavin, and former Red Sox media relations staffer Henry Mahegan would be the three sharing PA duties at Fenway Park this season.
The Red Sox would not confirm this report.
"I think they're waiting for the results of the swimsuit competition," Lobel said on Friday when asked to comment on the report. "I'd be pretty excited to be part of the mix. I've had a lot of fun doing the job as a guest."
When Lobel was asked if he would bring his endearing personality to the role if selected, he replied, "it will evolve, I'm just excited about it, if true, but I haven't heard a thing."
The finalists were brought to Fort Myers, Fla. in March, where their voices were heard in the open air of JetBlue Park and their presentations were analyzed by the Red Sox brass.
Mahegan, now a teacher and baseball coach at Charlestown High, saw heavy duty as one of the primary guest announcers last season.
Steinberg told the Globe he enjoyed the young “warm voice” of Mahegan, who knows the press box atmosphere and how the information flow works during a game.
Along with Lobel, Flavin, and Mahegan the other two finalists included Jensen Millar, who is indeed Kevin Millar's brother, and the Rev. Tom Kennedy, a fixture around Fenway for many years.
“What we’re looking for is a rising star,” Lucchino told WEEI in May. “We’re trying to find someone to fill a very big hole in the operation at Fenway Park."
Lucchino also said he had been speaking to his senior advisor, Dr. Charles Steinberg, about an idea to have the PA announcer say the balls and strikes count after each pitch, but said since no one has done this, he would have to get permission from Major League Baseball “down the road.”
“I hadn't heard of a final decision [on the PA position],” Steinberg said via email on Friday. “So if D&C are right, they're ahead of me.”
The Red Sox consider the PA job a part-time position, but it is an opportunity for someone to create a mood for the ballpark while watching the game unfold.
Most PA announcers in baseball do the job mostly for the love of the game.
Last May, the team held tryouts to replace Beane and the team held open-to-the-public along with invitation-only tryouts at Fenway again in January.
Last month, Steinberg told the Globe he was looking for the new PA voice to be the “color of Fenway.”
“It was a fun process for everyone concerned,” Steinberg said. “I think giving fans the stage to audition for this job was exciting in and of itself for so many of them.”
After Beane’s passing, the Red Sox had about 50 sports and media types handle interim PA duties at Fenway for the remainder of the 2012 season.
The Red Sox have had seven PA announcers in their history, starting with Frank Fallon from 1953-57. Former Bruins play-by-play man Fred Cusick did it in 1956 and 1957, and Jay McMaster had the job from 1958-66.
Sherm Feller took over in time for the Impossible Dream season in 1967. After Feller’s death in 1993, the Red Sox hired only the second female PA announcer in major league history, Leslie Sterling. (Sherry Davis, with the Giants, was the first). Sterling, now an ordained minister, was heard at Fenway from 1994-96, and Steinberg said there were “a few women” in the mix this time.
Ed Brickley from Winchester took over in 1997 and worked until 2002, when the Sox hired Beane.
Information from a Feb. 3, 2013 Boston Globe story was used in this report.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer