Remembering Milo 1927-2015

Baseball lost another get voice yesterday. Leland Milo Hamilton, better known as Milo, passed away at the age of 88. Most of you may know him for being the one who called Hank Aaron’s 715 home run, but he known to others for more than that.

Apr 6, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros former broadcaster Milo Hamilton addresses the crowd at Minute Maid Park before a game against the Cleveland Indians. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Born in Fairfield, Iowa, Milo served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he broadcasted on the Armed Forces Radio. In 1949, he graduated from the University of Iowa.

He began his career calling football and basketball for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Quad Cities Region (minor league baseball), and  the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, now the Atlanta Hawks. In 1953, Milo got his first MLB announcing job with the American League St. Louis Browns. The following year he joined Harry Caray and Jack Buck calling games for the St. Louis Cardinals. After a few years away from baseball, he signed with the Chicago White Sox as the assistant to the one and only Bob Elson.

In 1966, when the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, Hamilton got the call to become the team’s play-by-play announcer. Hamilton’s voice was already somewhat known in Atlanta; local station WGST  had been part of the White Sox radio network in the early 1960s. Hamilton was paired with Ernie Johnson, Sr., a retired Braves player. The Braves fired him in 1975 but not before he could make the call of a lifetime. That call was Hank Aaron’s 715 home run. The call went like this…

“Henry Aaron, in the second inning walked and scored… He’s sittin’ on 714… Here’s the pitch by Downing… swinging… there’s a drive into left-center field… that ball is gonna beeee… OUTTA HERE! IT’S GONE! IT’S 715! There’s a new home run champion of all time… and it’s HENRY AARON!”

In 1976, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates but many was mostly unhappy with him. In 1980, he joined the Chicago Cubs. Once again he was with Harry Caray, who he never really got along with. After the 1984 season, Milo was dismissed by the Cubs after his and Caray’s relationship got even worse.

After he left the Cubs, Hamilton joined the Houston Astros. This was his longest tenure and his last. The first two years he spent there he was the number-two announcer.From 1987-2012, Hamilton was t he number-one announcer for the Astros. Starting in 2006,  he would only do the home games. He did travel with them when four new ballparks opened in the National League. In 2012, he planned to retire but he still wanted to be involved with the Astros in a limited way.

In 2005, Hamilton lost his wife but that did not stop him from calling the game he loved.Then in 2007, Hamilton was eating lunch with his son when he has a heart attack. Yesterday, September 17, 2015, Hamilton passed away after battling chronic lymphatic leukemia since 1974. The Astros are planning to add a patch to their uniforms honoring Milo.

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