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


Lookouts Sink Suns Friday, 4-2. Keeping Playoff Hopes Alive

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Chattanooga Lookouts broke a 1-1 tie with three seventh-inning runs, and won a 4-2 series finale over the Jacksonville Suns in front of a season-high 7,873 at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. The Lookouts are now 69-61 overall. They are 33-25 in the second half, 2.0 games behind Montgomery, and 2.5 games behind Jackson with ten games remaining ... (click for more)

Scores: Friday Night Football

Friday Night Scores:  Finals East Ridge 34 Brainerd 6 Rhea Co. 60 McMinn Co. 7 Ooltewah 38 Signal Mountain 7 Sequatchie Co. 61 Whitwell 20 McCallie 49 Blackman 10 Baylor 47 Red Bank 7 Marion Co. 58 Grundy Co. 6 CCS 35 Lookout Valley 0 South Pittsburg 40 Bledsoe Co. 7 Boyd-Buchanan 28 King's Academy 24 Sale Creek 48 Concord Christian 6 ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 3 On Kemp Drive

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire late Saturday afternoon. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm shortly before  6 p.m.  and responded to 4605 Kemp Drive with five fire companies. Battalion Chief Rick Boatwright said the fire started in the kitchen and then spread up into the attic. The firefighters were able to bring the ... (click for more)

Michael Wilson Back In Bradley County; Due In Court On Monday

Michael Wilson is back in Bradley County, and was escorted into the Correctional Facility around 8:15 p.m. Wilson’s first appearance in court will be on Monday, at 9 a.m. in the Bradley County General Sessions Courtroom at the Judicial Complex at 2290 Blythe Ave. Wilson was arrested last week, after e ndangered Bradley County child Skyla Wilson was found safe in Colorado ... (click for more)

Pedestrians Have The Right Of Way - And Response (2)

Often I visit Gold's Gym at Chestnut and 4th Street. I  park in the theater parking lot at Broad and 4th Street.  I depend on the walk signs to get me there safely.  Most days I almost get hit by someone turning left or right coming from the exit ramp off 27 or turning right on 4th street from Chestnut. This happened yesterday as I was almost mowed down by a garbage ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Girls - ‘I Can And I Will’

Every night after the Rodriguez girls went to sleep not that long ago in a grim, rat-infested basement apartment on Chicago’s South Side, their father – a boxing referee who came to America from Puerto Rico -- would kneel beside the girls’ bed and whisper in each child’s ear. Their parents made them sleep hot-dog style, tightly wrapped in the same sheet and pressed together to protect ... (click for more)