- Chris Schenkel
Christopher Eugene Schenkel Born August 21, 1923
Died September 11, 2005(aged 82)
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Occupation Sportscaster Spouse Fran Paige (m. 1955–2005) , his death Children Christina, Teddy, and Johnny
Christopher Eugene "Chris" Schenkel (August 21, 1923 – September 11, 2005) was an American sportscaster. Over the course of five decades he called play-by-play for numerous sports on television and radio, becoming known for his smooth delivery and baritone voice.
Early life and career
Schenkel began his broadcasting career at radio station WBAA while studying for a premedical degree at Purdue University. He worked for a time at WLBC in Muncie, Indiana. After military service in World War II, he resumed sportcasting in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1947, he called the first American football game ever broadcast on television (a Harvard-Army contest).
In 1952, Schenkel was hired by the DuMont network, for which he broadcast New York Giants football and hosted DuMont's Boxing from St. Nicholas Arena from 1954 to 1956. In 1956, he went to CBS Sports, where he continued to call Giants games, along with boxing, the Triple Crown horse racing, and The Masters golf tournament, among other events. Along with Chuck Thompson, Schenkel called the 1958 NFL Championship Game for NBC. He was the voiceover talent for the very first NFL Films production ever made, the 1962 NFL Championship Game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants.
ABC Sports hired Schenkel in 1965, and there he broadcast college football, Major League Baseball, NBA basketball, golf and tennis tournaments, boxing, auto racing, and the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. He also had a long-term assignment covering professional bowling, mainly for the Professional Bowlers Association (also known as the Pro Bowlers Tour). He covered bowling from the early 1960s until 1997, as it became one of ABC's signature sports for Saturday afternoons. His broadcast partners on the PBA telecasts included Billy Welu (through 1974) and Nelson "Bo" Burton, Jr. (1975–97).
During his 36 years on The Professional Bowlers Tour, there were occasions when ABC sent Schenkel away to cover other assignments. Strangely, he was away on assignment for the first four of the PBA's televised 300 games. He would eventually witness a 300 game on January 31, 1987 when Houstonian Pete McCordic bowled one in the first match of the Greater Los Angeles Open. Chris told McCordic it was a great moment for him, since he was away all the other times. Chris would witness and call five more televised 300 games.
Contrary to current popular belief, Chris Schenkel, not Jim McKay, anchored ABC's prime time coverage of the ill-fated 1972 Summer Olympics. When the terrorist attacks (otherwise known as the Munich Massacre) occurred, Schenkel was asleep after hosting the previous night's coverage live from Munich from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. local time. McKay, who was on his way to the Stadium for track and field coverage, was told to return to the ABC studio to report on the situation unfolding at the Olympic Village. Schenkel returned to anchor Olympic coverage after the Games resumed.
In 1971, Statesboro, Georgia businessman Charlie Robbins honored Schenkel by developing in his name a scholarship for golf at Georgia Southern University and developed the Chris Schenkel Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, featuring some of the nation's top college golf teams. The tournament ended after the 1989 because of concerns after it was discovered the golf club hosting the tournament was all white, but was revived in 1999 as the E-Z-Go Schenkel Invitational. The tournament is regarded as one of college golf's premier intercollegiate tournament in the East.
Chris Schenkel also was the play by play man (with Bud Wilkinson) for the legendary Nebraska-Oklahoma "Game of the Century" on Thanksgiving Day 1971, as well as the Sugar Bowl national championship showdown between Notre Dame and Alabama on New Year's Eve 1973 (with Wilkinson and Howard Cosell, in a rare college football appearance). In 1974, Schenkel was replaced by Keith Jackson as ABC's lead play-by-play man for college football telecasts, but Schenkel continued to call college football games for several more years.
Schenkel was named National Sportscaster of the Year four times, and in 1992 he received a lifetime achievement Emmy. Also in 1992, the Pro Football Hall of Fame presented Schenkel with its Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. In 1999, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1999, the Professional Bowlers Association named the Player of the Year award after Schenkel.
In a 2009 vote by its members, the American Sportscasters Association ranked Schenkel 25th on its list of the Top 50 Sportscasters of All-Time.
He was married to former dancer and modeler, Fran Page.
Schenkel had three children, Christina, Teddy, and Johnny. He also has three grandchildren, Christopher, Michael, and Katie.
In 1971, Schenkel, a longtime friend of Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Tony Hulman, was a passenger in the pace car for that year's Indianapolis 500 race. Astronaut John Glenn and Hulman were also in the car when its driver, Indianapolis-area Dodge dealer Eldon Palmer, crashed the 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible into a section of bleachers at the beginning of the race. Someone had moved the flag Palmer had positioned as a braking reference point, leading to the incident that injured twenty-two people, mostly photographers. Schenkel and the car's other occupants were not seriously injured.
Schenkel died of emphysema in 2005 at the age of 82.
Mr. Schenkel appeared (along with Bo Burton) as the bowling announcers in the final match in the 1979 movie Dreamer.
Schenkel's voice can be heard on the controversial "Daisy" ad.
Television voice of the
Play-by-Play announcer, NBA Finals
1966–1971 (with Bob Wolff in 1966 and 1969)
American television prime time anchor, Summer Olympic Games
American television prime time anchor, Winter Olympic Games
Major League Baseball on ABC Related programs Related articles Commentators Key figuresJack Arute · Gary Bender · Johnny Bench · Buddy Blattner · Lou Brock · Jack Buck · Norm Cash · Ken Coleman · Howard Cosell · Dizzy Dean · Rick Dempsey · Don Drysdale · Leo Durocher · Carl Erskine · Bob Gibson · Curt Gowdy · Merle Harmon · Keith Jackson · Reggie Jackson · Jim Kaat · George Kell · Jim Lampley · Tommy Lasorda · Billy Martin · Tim McCarver · Corey McPherrin · Al Michaels · Joe Morgan · Brent Musburger · Jim Palmer · Ross Porter · Bob Prince · Jackie Robinson · John Saunders · Chris Schenkel · Steve Stone · Gary Thorne · Bob Uecker · Lesley Visser · Earl Weaver · Bill White · Warner Wolf LoreTiebreaker games1959 National League playoff series · 1978 AL East Playoff · 1980 NL West PlayoffWorld Series games World Series AL Championship Series NL Championship Series AL Division Series NL Division Series All-Star Game NBA on ABC Related programsLoreNBA DraftsWNBA Finals2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009 · 2010 · 2011 Related articles Commentators Key figures
Greg Anthony · Jon Barry · Mike Breen · Hubie Brown · Doris Burke · Howard Cosell · Bob Cousy · Sean Elliott · Len Elmore · Chet Forte · Jim Gordon · Chuck Howard · Keith Jackson · Mark Jackson · Magic Johnson · Steve Jones · Dan Majerle · Al Michaels · Brent Musburger · Brad Nessler · Dan Patrick · Scottie Pippen · Doc Rivers · Bill Russell · Lisa Salters · John Saunders · Chris Schenkel · Stuart Scott · Hannah Storm · Michele Tafoya · Mike Tirico · Tom Tolbert · Jack Twyman · Jeff Van Gundy · Bill Walton · Jerry West · Michael WilbonABC Radio announcers
NBA FinalsABC Radio's coverage All-Star GameABC Radio's coverage Music LoreRivalriesBryant–O'Neal · Lakers–Pistons · Celtics–Lakers
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