HOUSTON — Baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton will end his reign as the radio voice of the Houston Astros tonight.
The game against the Cardinals will also mark the Astros' last at Minute Maid Park as part of the National League. They move to the American League in 2013. MLB insisted on the change before they would approve Jim Crane as the new owner.
Hamilton, 85, has been the Astros’ radio voice for 28 years and has been calling Major League Baseball games for nearly six decades.
He announced plans to retire last year.
"It’s been a wonderful time and how great for me to finish up my broadcasting of games in Houston," Hamilton said back then.
"He’s been an icon broadcaster," new Astros owner Jim Crane said. "He’s one of the greatest ever and has a history that’s probably second to not many. He’s meant a lot to the organization."
Hamilton will remain with the team after this season working mostly on special events but will make sporadic appearances on radio broadcasts.
Hamilton’s time calling the majors is second all-time only to Vin Scully, who is in his 65th season.
Hamilton was inducted into the broadcasters wing of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000.
Hamilton made the call on Aaron’s 715th home run on April 8, 1974, as a broadcaster for the Atlanta Braves. He said that was the highlight of his career.
"The Aaron home run made it a great call because it barely made it," Hamilton said. "It wasn’t like Mark McGwire’s going over the McDonald’s sign at Busch. I still enjoy it when I hear it."
He has also called 11 no-hitters, Nolan Ryan’s 4,000th strikeout in 1985 and Craig Biggio’s 3,000th hit in 2007. He was with the Pirates during their 1979 championship season when Stan Musial hit five home runs in a doubleheader.
Hamilton said his most memorable no-hitter was Mike Scott’s division-clinching one in 1986, and Hamilton said Biggio’s 3,000th hit was another high point of his career.
Hamilton is known for his positive nature, but he can play defense too, like when a caller to a radio show took things too far.
Hamilton has called more than 4,000 spring training, regular-season and playoff games. He stopped traveling with the team in 2006 but occasionally makes road trips.
He hopes to return to the booth next season when the Astros move to the American League and visit Detroit, so he can mark that park off the list.