Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
MLB: Longtime Braves broadcaster Van Wieren dies at 69
First Published Aug 02 2014 10:18 am • Last Updated Aug 02 2014 11:10 pm

Atlanta • Pete Van Wieren, the bespectacled broadcaster who was part of the landmark team that carried Atlanta Braves games throughout the nation on Ted Turner’s "SuperStation," died Saturday after a battle with cancer, the team said. He was 69.

Affectionately known as "The Professor" for his encyclopedic knowledge of the game and long hours of research before each broadcast, Van Wieren spent 33 years with the Braves before retiring in 2008, shortly after the death of his longtime partner Skip Caray.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"The Atlanta Braves are deeply saddened by the passing of Pete Van Wieren," the team said in a statement. "He was such a large and important part of our organization. We and all of our fans across Braves country fondly remember his soothing voice calling our games for 33 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Elaine, his children and his grandchildren."

A native of Rochester, New York, Van Wieren had been calling games for the Triple-A Tidewater Tides when the Braves hired him before the 1976 season to join a new three-man broadcast team with Caray and Ernie Johnson.

The trio would soon become known to baseball fans around the nation thanks to Turner, the team’s brash owner, who began beaming games via satellite on a once-obscure Atlanta television station. While the team didn’t have much success through the 1970s and ‘80s, Johnson, Caray and Van Wieren were the faces and voices of the game in areas that didn’t have their own local broadcasts.

With his thick glasses and thinning hair, Van Wieren didn’t fit the classic television mold. But his smooth voice and ability to come up with obscure statistics in the pre-Internet era paired especially well with Caray, who was known for his biting sarcasm and irreverent retorts. They were inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2004, joining their good friend Johnson. He died in 2011.

Chipper Jones, who spent nearly two decades as the Braves third baseman, became a fan of the team while growing up in Florida, largely because of Van Wieren and those TBS broadcasts.

"Grew up watchin him every night," said Jones, who retired after the 2012 season. "We will miss you buddy!"

Dale Murphy, who starred for the Braves during the height of the team’s popularity on the SuperStation, tweeted that Van Wieren was a "true professional, great friend and pillar of the Braves family."

Van Wieren’s talents went beyond baseball. He also called NBA games on TBS and TNT, in addition to stints with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, NHL’s Atlanta Flames and Big Ten Conference football.


story continues below
story continues below

In 2010, he released a memoir of his long career, "Of Mikes and Men: A Lifetime of Braves Baseball."

Van Wieren was initially diagnosed with lymphoma in early 2010. He was treated for the disease, but it returned before the year was out.

"This is certainly not what I planned to do when I retired," he told MLB.com at that time.

Van Wieren is survived by his wife of 50 years, Elaine, sons Jon and Steve, a daughter-in-law and three granddaughters.

A private funeral will be held.

———

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.