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Jon Miller, Master Of Play-By-Play17:14
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In this photo from 2006, ESPN and San Francisco Giants sportscaster Jon Miller introduces Willie Mays as Mays celebrates his 75th birthday before a game at AT&T Park. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)
In this photo from 2006, ESPN and San Francisco Giants sportscaster Jon Miller introduces Willie Mays as Mays celebrates his 75th birthday before a game at AT&T Park. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty)

Some moments in Major League Baseball are unforgettable for fans — Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965, or Barry Bonds' record-breaking 756th home run. And for each moment, there is a play-by-play announcer who narrates history as it happens.

Known for lively catch-phrases and split-second calls, the best announcers — like Jon Miller, the announcer for ESPN Sunday Night Baseball and the San Francisco Giants — inform and entertain, and make it look easy.

Miller's first job is to call the game in front of him, but that's not all. "The game you're watching, the game you're attending, the game you're listening to" may be first and foremost, he tells host Neal Conan, but he puts that game in context when sharing results from games around the league. "Let's face it," he reminds Conan, "you've got two-and-a-half, three hours or longer a night where you're talking to these fans ... Sometimes your personality's going to come out."

Miller has a voracious appetite for insights into the game. Unlike Vin Scully, who prefers to work alone, he's always looking for more information. Miller works ESPN games with Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan, and they're adding a third announcer. Right-hander and former Cy Young award winner Orel Hershiser will be joining Miller and Morgan in the booth in 2010.

But for calling games on radio, Miller thinks, "one guy is plenty."

Copyright NPR 2022.

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