Passion, patience pays off for Castiglione
Passion brought Joe Castiglione to the broadcast booth and fueled him for more than four decades.
Patience brought his Red Sox four World Series titles – and Castiglione a place in Cooperstown.
Castiglione was named the 48th winner of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters on Wednesday. The longtime radio voice of the Boston Red Sox will be honored at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 20, in Cooperstown as part of the July 19-22 Induction Weekend.
“This was something that was never on the radar,” said Castiglione, who recently completed his 41st season behind the mic in Boston, a record for Red Sox broadcasters. “To have my name in that broadcasters section (of the Hall of Fame) is just amazing.”
A native of Hamden, Conn., Castiglione, 76, earned an undergraduate degree at Colgate University and took his master’s degree at Syracuse University – each about an hour from Cooperstown – before beginning his career at WFMJ-TV in Youngstown, Ohio. After moving to Cleveland to work for WKYC-TV, he began calling Indians games in 1979 before working Brewers games in 1981 and then returning to the Indians’ booth in 1982.
Joining the Red Sox radio team in 1983, Castiglione has shared the microphone with partners including Bob Starr, Dave O’Brien, Jerry Trupiano and Will Flemming while also teaching broadcast journalism at Northeastern University, Franklin Pierce University and Emerson College.
A frequent visitor to Cooperstown during trips back to Colgate, Castiglione was awed by the moment after receiving the news that he had won the Frick Award in his fourth appearance on the ballot.
“I didn’t sleep too well (Tuesday night) and we had a refrigerator delivered this morning and that was a little hectic time,” Castiglione told media on a Wednesday afternoon video call. “Then I rode my exercise bike, did my stretching and then sat here and looked at the phone.”
“It was more stunning than anything.”
Inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2014, Castiglione is the longest tenured broadcaster in Red Sox history and has called historic moments that have included both of Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout games and four no-hitters. He delivered the final out calls in each of the Red Sox’s four World Series wins from 2004 through 2018, including the historic victory that snapped Boston’s 86-year championship drought.
It was all heady stuff for a broadcaster who came to the Red Sox on a one-year contract in what would become Carl Yastrzemski’s final year on the field in 1983.
“I had a one-year agreement, so I was not counting on being here over 40 years later. I just wanted to get to the next season,” Castiglione said. “I never thought this would culminate in this great award.
“After (1986, when the Red Sox fell to the Mets in the World Series), you thought you’d get right back to the World Series because they had such a strong team. Then it took 18 years to get back and finally win it. Then to happen four times in a 15-year period is amazing.”
Castiglione joins the ranks of fellow Red Sox announcers Curt Gowdy, Jon Miller and Ken Harrelson as Frick Award winners.
In 2022, the home Fenway Park radio booth was named in Castiglione’s honor.
“My first hero was Mel Allen (who along with Red Barber earned the initial Frick Award in 1978),” Castiglione said. “It’s just so meaningful to be in with some of the greats. It’s a tremendous honor.
“I love the game. I love the people in the game and the stories: The scouts, managers and the players. More than anything, it’s the love of the people in the game and connecting with the great fans of Red Sox Nation. The friendships you make are really what sustains you.”
Those friendships and relationships have produced an unflagging work ethic and energy that continues to resound from radios throughout the Northeast.
“If I had to describe my style,” Castiglione said, “it’s one of passion.”
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum