Today the Diamondbacks’ Twitter account broke the sorrowful news that Joe Garagiola, one of the team’s original broadcasters, passed away at 90.
Team CEO Derrick Hall said that the team was looking into the possibility of wearing a commemorative patch in Garagiola’s memory. Garagiola was a part-time color commentator with the Diamondbacks from the team’s inception 1998 until his retirement following the 2012 season.
Garagiola had been a giant of the broadcasting industry long before he came to the Diamondbacks. After an eight-year tenure in the majors with four teams from 1946-1954, Garagiola called Cardinals games on the radio until 1962. Garagiola was best known for his tenure as a color commentator on NBC back when the station had the rights to broadcast baseball, which he did from 1963-1988. Garagiola was also a part of other non-baseball shows on the network, including occasionally guest-hosting the Tonight Show and two stints as a Today Show co-host, first from 1967-1973 and again from 1991-1992.
A commemorative patch would be a terrific thing for the Diamondbacks to do. Garagiola was such a significant figure not just to the Diamondbacks, but to baseball in general. This is something several teams have done– the Cubs for Harry Caray, the Phillies for Harry Kalas and the Mets for Bob Murphy are a few that come to mind. A Garagiola patch would be a first for the Diamondbacks, who have never worn a memorial patch for anyone in their 18-year history.
Garagiola is survived by his wife Audrie and three children, including former Diamondbacks’ GM Joe Garagiola Jr.