Longtime MLB catcher and renowned color commentator Tim McCarver died Thursday at the age of 81 due to heart failure. McCarver’s career in baseball spanned seven decades and included two World Series victories as a player and countless primetime appearances in the commentary booth.

McCarver’s MLB career began in 1959, when he was just 17. Then a young catcher, he bounced back and forth between the St. Louis Cardinals and several minor league teams before finally earning a permanent role on the team in 1963. The following season, he hit a go-ahead home run in Game 5 of the 1964 World Series, which the Cardinals went on to win. He also contributed to another championship for the team in 1966.

During this period, McCarver became the preferred catcher for Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, the latter of which would extend his career later on. After 10 seasons with the Cardinals, he spent the early 1970s in stints with the Phillies and Expos before briefly returning to St. Louis for two seasons. After another two years playing for the Red Sox, McCarver returned to the Phillies at Carlton’s request, as he became the star pitcher’s personal catcher until his retirement in 1980.

Toward the end of his playing days, McCarver began dabbling in commentary and immediately began calling games after his retirement. He soon became a color commentator for nationally televised games and went on to work for all four major networks over the course of nearly four decades. He also worked on local broadcasts from 1980 to 2002, calling games for the Phillies, Yankees, Giants and Mets, the latter of which he covered for 16 seasons.

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McCarver stepped down from his position as a national broadcaster for Fox in 2013 but continued working part-time on Cardinals broadcasts until 2019. He officially retired in April 2022 due to growing health concerns.

For his work in the commentary booth, the color commentator received the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award, given to an individual who has made “major contributions to baseball.” He was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2017.

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