Dick Enberg, the legendary broadcaster who provided play-by-play coverage for almost 60 years, died Thursday morning in La Jolla, Calif. He was 82.
According to Enberg’s wife, Barbara, who spoke to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Enberg likely died from a heart attack. The family was alerted to his death after he failed to catch a flight from San Diego to Boston.
“He was dressed with his bags packed at the door,” she said.
Enberg worked for numerous networks throughout his career, including NBC, CBS, and ESPN, as well as individual teams, and was known for his catchphrases, “Oh, my!” for exciting plays, and “Touch ’em all” for home runs.
He began broadcasting in college at WSAM in Saginaw, Mich., and started broadcasting professionally in the late 1960s after leaving his job as an assistant professor and baseball coach at California State University Northridge. His first professional broadcasting position was with KTLA, anchoring a nightly sports report and calling UCLA Bruins basketball, and KMPC radio, calling the Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Rams. His work at the stations earned him four California Sportscaster of the Year awards.
After joining NBC in 1975, he went on to work for the network for 25 years and broadcast everything from baseball to golf to heavyweight boxing and horse racing. He became the lead play-by-play announcer for “NFL on NBC,” and called the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, Calif. from 1980 through 1989, when the game was picked up by ABC.
Enberg moved to CBS in 2000, where his “Enberg Essays” — warm reflections on the sporting events he covered — were featured as a regular part of CBS’s coverage of college basketball’s Final Four. He began working at ESPN in 2004, where he covered the Wimbledon and French Open tennis tournaments. He worked as the TV voice for the San Diego Padres in 2009, where he worked until his retirement from broadcasting in 2016. During his last week on air in October, he made an appearance with Vin Scully, the venerated announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers who was retiring the same day as Enberg.
Over his career, Enberg broadcast 28 Wimbledon tennis tournaments, 10 Super Bowls, and eight NCAA basketball title games for the UCLA Bruins. He was recognized with 13 Sports Emmy awards, a Lifetime Achievement Emmy, nine National Sportscaster of the Year Awards from the NSSA, five Sportscaster of the Year awards from the ASA, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He remains the only sportscaster to have won Emmys in three categories — broadcasting, writing, and producing.