Since the news broke this morning of the passing of Pete Van Wieren I’ve been trying to remember a signature call or a moment that he had which made him such a special broadcaster, and I can’t really think of any. Skip Caray had a lot of the big moments (Sid’s slide, Otis Nixon, the 1995 World Series, etc) but not Pete. Pete had that encyclopedic knowledge of baseball that just blew my mind. I never didn’t learn something about baseball when listening to him broadcast a game.
But there is one memory that sticks out. I want to say it was 2006 and Skip and Pete were working on the radio as they did lo those many times. The Braves were playing Colorado and the Rockies had recently brought up a pitcher named Ubaldo Jimenez. Skip was reading the next game’s pitching match up “And throwing for the Rockies tomorrow is a hard throwing young righty named ‘You-Baldo’ Jimenez.”
Notably follically challenged, Pete probably knew where that was going. “Y'know, I think it’s 'Oo-Baldo.”
“No Pete, I’m pretty sure it’s 'You-baldo.”
During a few moments of silence you could hear Skip stifling a laugh. As deadpan as he could muster, Pete said “Skip…you know I hate you, right?” Of course everyone started laughing.
Skip, Pete, and Ernie Johnson were the soundtrack of my childhood summers. And now they’re all gone. I feel like a piece of my childhood died today. RIP Professor.