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Keith Taylor: With Marty Brennaman set to retire, it’s hard to imagine listening to the Reds without him

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

I can’t remember the first time I heard Marty Brennaman on the radio. He’s been calling Cincinnati Reds baseball games almost all of my life and is among the best in the business.

He will finish his 46th season next month and bid farewell to the booth.

That’s a lot of baseball, not to mention a ton of memories. I remember when I was young, I began listening to Reds games when on the radio when they weren’t on television. Watching a Cincinnati Reds game in TV back then was a treat, considering we didn’t have cable in rural Madison County. Dad listened to Reds game religiously back then and he still does.

Mostly because of my dad’s influence, we grew up following the Kentucky Wildcats and the Cincinnati Reds. I admit I ventured off the beaten path when the Reds were hard to watch in the early 1980s and took a liking to the Atlanta Braves, because they are the next closest Major League baseball team to Kentucky.

It wasn’t until Pete Rose returned as player/manager that I regained interest in the Reds and started following them closely again. When the Reds weren’t on television, I listened to Brennaman and the late Joe Nuxhall. They were one-of-a kind in the booth and a joy to listen to during the long, hot and hazy days of summer.

There was just something about the chemistry between Marty and Joe and it’s hard to think of a better combination – past or present – in the radio booth.

Nuxhall, who also played for the Reds, is a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Brennman will join his former broadcast partner on the team’s official honor roll next year when he is inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame. They are both deserving of the honor.

Although it’s hard to believe, Brennaman is nearing the end of his tenure as the “voice of the Reds” and will call his last game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept 26.

Brennaman is a unique talent and I was pulling for Marty to take over as Kentucky’s play-by-play announcer after Cawood Ledford retired in 1992. That is how much I loved listening to Marty and still do.

A few years ago, I met and interviewed Brennaman when the Reds Caravan made a stop in Lexington. We talked about the Reds and of course the Wildcats. He was a great interview and I enjoyed every minute, considering I grew up clinging to his every word on the air.

When he is inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame next year, Brennaman will be only inductee, which is a fitting tribute to his longevity with the squad. It will be different not hearing Brennaman’s voice on the air after he officially drops the mic, but the sendoff couldn’t be more fitting.

Although the Reds aren’t blazing the standings, it will be worth your while to listen to a Reds game during the next month and listen to the call by Brennaman, truly a team treasure who will be missed on the air.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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