Longtime Braves' Broadcaster Pete Van Wieren Dies

Van Wieren, 69, Battled Cancer

Saturday, August 2, 2014
Pete Van Wieren on Opening Day, 2014.
Pete Van Wieren on Opening Day, 2014.
- photo by Tim Evearitt
SAN DIEGO -- The Braves family lost one of its most beloved members when former broadcaster Pete Van Wieren lost his long battle with cancer on Saturday morning.

Van Wieren's family said he passed peacefully while resting at his suburban Atlanta home. Van Wieren's passing comes one day shy of the sixth anniversary of the death of his close friend and longtime broadcast partner Skip Caray. Van Wieren and Caray called Braves games together for 33 seasons (1976-2008).

Those who remember the days of the Braves being broadcast nationwide on TBS will always remember Skip and Pete as the voices that brought baseball into their living room on a nightly basis.

The Braves issued a statement that read:

"The Atlanta Braves are deeply saddened by the passing of Pete Van Wieren. He was such a large and important part of our organization. We and all of our fans across Braves Country fondly remember his soothing voice calling our games for 33 years. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Elaine, his children and his grandchildren."

When Van Wieren emceed the Hank Aaron "715th home run anniversary celebration" before this year's home opener, he said the doctors had informed him that he was as healthy as he had been since being diagnosed on Nov. 4, 2009 with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma. But a short time later, the cancer returned in an aggressive manner.

Van Wieren was placed in hospice care late last week.

When Van Wieren retired at the end of the 2008 season, he was influenced by Caray's death and the desire to spend more time with his family, which had seen him spend the past three decades traveling the country with the Braves. Sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer 13 months after announcing his retirement.

During his final two seasons as a broadcaster, Van Wieren attended every regular-season and Spring Training game played by the Braves. The only game he didn't call came during the 2007 season, when he was sidelined by a one-day bout with laryngitis.

It could be argued that nobody knew or loved the Braves more than Van Wieren, who came to Atlanta when Ted Turner hired him to become a part of the TBS broadcast crew that included Caray and their mentor Ernie Johnson Sr.

Because of his dedication to preparation and extensive knowledge, many have mistakenly believed Van Wieren's nickname, "The Professor," was aimed toward his intellect. But Johnson actually gave him the nickname because he felt he looked like one of his former teammates who had been given that nickname.

Johnson served as a mentor to Van Wieren and Caray during their early years and always provided them sound advice. When Johnson's wife met Van Wieren's wife for the first time in 1975, she gave her a plaque that read, "We interrupt this marriage to bring you the baseball season."

During those 33 seasons of interrupted marriage, Van Wieren saw Dale Murphy become a star and Gene Garber end Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak. The struggling teams that he covered in the 1980s were followed by those Braves teams that won an unprecedented 14 consecutive division titles.

Van Wieren's contributions to the Braves extended beyond the microphone. During the days when Turner believed his employees should perform multiple jobs, "The Professor" served as the club's traveling secretary.

When Turner decided to serve as manager for one day in Pittsburgh during the 1977 season, Van Wieren suddenly found himself responsible for finding a way to get manager Dave Bristol out of the team hotel without any of his players noticing.

While the Braves will always have the fond memories created by Van Wieren's voice and intellect, they will sadly never again have the opportunity to spend time with a man who became a best friend to the many fans and members of the organization who came to love him.

---- Source: MLB.com

Moc Wrestlers Compete In Blue & Gold Match At Chamberland Field

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling team continues to develop innovative ways to showcase its student-athletes to fans and supporters.  Tonight's Blue & Gold Match at Chamberlain Field was another outstanding example of these efforts. The Mocs took their annual preseason exhibition outdoors to the middle of campus.  Over 300 fans showed with lawn ... (click for more)

UTC To Host SoCon Cross-Country Championships Saturday

 The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s and women’s cross country teams will host and compete in the 2016 Southern Conference Cross Country Championships this Saturday morning at Camp Jordan.   “It’s a great honor to host the Southern Conference,” Chattanooga head coach Andy Meyer said. “The weather is supposed to be good and people will get to see a quality ... (click for more)

School Board Chooses Charlotte Firm For Superintendent Search Firm; Lennon, Testerman Want To Keep Kelly

The County School Board on Thursday night voted 5-4 to choose a Charlotte, N.C., search firm to pick a new county school superintendent. Coleman Lew and Associates was selected over McPherson & Jacobson of Omaha. That vote came after board members Kathy Lennon and David Testerman started the session by saying they are very pleased with Interim Supt. Kirk Kelly and would ... (click for more)

East Ridge May Revise Ordinance On Extended Stays; Fire Hall Cost Well Above Projection; Dunkin Donuts, Firehouse Subs Going Into Border Region Sector

A large portion of the East Ridge City Council meeting Thursday night was devoted to the discussion of a proposed amendment to the ordinance previously passed relating to minimum hotel and extended stay hotel requirements. The new recommendations, which the city manager, codes enforcer and city attorney have drafted after meetings with hotel associations, are that a stay can be ... (click for more)

Accountability Doesn't Have To Be A Bad Word

Am I making a difference? Isn’t that the basic question we all ask ourselves, and seek to demonstrate to others?  Ronald Reagan said:  “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”   We would argue teachers do not have that problem either.    Educators make a huge difference ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Guess Who Backed Kelly?

Two weeks before the August election where three members of the Hamilton County School Board were angrily replaced, the organizer of what was called “a great way for the (challengers) to raise great money to help them run smart campaigns” made a bold statement. “I'm sure the current board is well-intentioned, but the results are not there," said Paul Brock. "Leadership matters ... (click for more)