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


UTC Golfers 11th At Furman Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is in 11th-place through the first 18 holes of the Furman Intercollegiate. The Mocs shot 3-over par 291 and is one shot behind Virginia Tech in 10th at 290.   Wes Gosselin led the way with a 1-under 71. He’s tied for 18th, but just two shots out of the top 5 overall. Stuart Thomas turned in a level-par 72. Etienne Brault is another shot ... (click for more)

Lady Scots 7-2 Over Agnes Scott Tennis

The Covenant women's tennis team opened USA South play with a 7-2 victory over Agnes Scott on Friday evening at the Covenant Tennis Complex on Lookout Mountain. The win extended Covenant's regular season conference winning streak to 11 matches dating back to last season. The Lady Scots have won four straight overall and have climbed over the .500 mark at 6-5 on the year. ... (click for more)

Motorcyclist Killed In Wreck On E. 34th Street

Brandon Tuders, 21, was killed in a motorcycle accident Friday afternoon.   Chattanooga Police Officers responded to a single vehicle motorcycle crash in the 1900 block of East 34th Street.   The accident occurred at approximately  12 p.m.  Witnesses said the motorcycle was traveling east on 34th Street on the wrong side of the road in a curve. ... (click for more)

Firefighters Respond To House Fire Friday Afternoon On Cameron Lane

The  Chattanooga Fire Department responded to 4921 Cameron Lane on a residential house fire on Friday around  12:30 p.m. The homeowner said that he returned home to see smoke coming from his roof top vents. He did not open the door; instead, he called 911.  The fire department arrived on the scene and quickly extinguished the fire. ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Geno: Our ‘Me’ Culture

By almost every measure, Geno Auriemma is the best basketball coach in America. His University of Connecticut women are riding a record 109-game winning streak that dates to Nov. 17, 2016. Stanford barely beat them in overtime 3 years ago, but, before that, they won 41 straight. That means UConn is 153-1 and, in the current 109 streak, they have double-figure wins over the opponents ... (click for more)