Hank Greenwald ’57
As a young boy listening to baseball on the radio in his native Detroit in the 1940s, Hank Greenwald ’57 knew he wanted to become a broadcaster. He was captivated by the stories told by Tigers announcer Harry Heilmann, himself a Hall of Fame player. Greenwald went on to pursue his dream at Syracuse University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in radio and television.
The road to the major league broadcast booth took several detours along the way. Reading egg prices and playing music at a small radio station in Vineland, New Jersey, enabled Greenwald to get a foot in the door in commercial radio. “They let me do ten minutes of sports at night and I told people I was a sportscaster,” he says. From there, he returned to Syracuse, where he announced minor league baseball, Syracuse University football, and some games of the old Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers) of the NBA.
By 1965, it was time to move on. After a stint broadcasting baseball in Honolulu in the Pacific Coast League, Greenwald eventually settled in San Francisco, where he landed a job doing TV games for the San Francisco Warriors (now Golden State) of the NBA. In 1979, he was chosen to broadcast the games of the San Francisco Giants—fulfilling a lifetime ambition to do major league baseball.
After eight seasons with the Giants, Greenwald spent two years with the New York Yankees on New York City’s WABC before returning to the Giants for eight more years. Following his retirement from the Giants in 1996, he spent a season broadcasting the Saturday Game Of The Week for CBS Radio and two seasons doing TV games for the Oakland Athletics.
Today, he advises prospective sports announcers to get small recorders, go to as many games as they can, and describe them on tape. That way they can get the feel of broadcasting and be able to sit in judgment of their work.
By his own admission Greenwald has seen “one game too many” and is now content to split his year between San Francisco and Naples, Florida. “I still go to see the Giants play,” he says, “but the best part now is that I can leave in the third inning.”