Storyline: It was fun hearing Milo Hamilton’s enthusiasm for just about every play. He could make an ordinary play feel exciting, even dramatic.
Leland Milo Hamilton had one of the most recognizable voices in American sports. Broadcaster for seven major league baseball teams, including the Braves, Pirates, and Cubs, his longest tenure was as play-by-play man for the Houston Astros.
Hamilton was born 90 years ago in Fairfield, Iowa and served in the United States Navy during World War II. While in the service he would broadcast games on Armed Forces Radio. After the war he attended the University of Iowa and, later, had the dream job of every college sports fan–calling his Alma Mater’s football and basketball games. He also called minor league baseball games.
His first job in Major League Baseball was with the St. Louis Browns. That was the beginning of his migratory tour of MLB cities.
He landed in Houston in the mid-80’s, starting his career there as backup announcer to longtime Astros’ lead announcer, Gene Elston. Hamilton took over the top job after Elston was let go for the way he had handled a no-hit game.
Hamilton was the Astros’ play-by-play man for the next quarter century–from 1987-2012.
As a kid I watched the Astros play on TV. It was fun hearing Hamilton’s enthusiasm for just about every play. He could make an ordinary play feel exciting, even dramatic.
I had the honor of meeting Milo Hamilton when I was about 17 years old. My parents were invited to an event at Minute Maid Park and I tagged along. I remember being in the lobby area, looking at a painting, when I turned around. There he was! We were introduced and I found him to be a very nice, down-to-earth man.
Hamilton commentary style, although unique, was not over the top. Perhaps his most famous call was Hank Aaron’s 715th home run. His catch phrase was: “Holy Toledo! What a play!”
Among many honors, he won The Ford C. Frick Award in 1992 and was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. Then, on April 8th, 2009, Houston Mayor Bill White dedicated Hamilton Street in downtown Houston as “Milo Hamilton Way” in honor.
Milo Hamilton died in 2015 at the age of 88.
I’ll always remember Milo Hamilton as “The Voice of the Astros.” His legacy lives in Houston.