Royals Birthdays – February 8
1943 – Bob Oliver (Outfielder/Infielder – 1969-72)
1920 – Buddy Blattner (Broadcaster – 1969-75)
There is little doubt that if you asked who the ‘Voice of the Royals’ was that the answer would come back – Denny Matthews, of course! And in many ways that answer is absolutlely correct as Denny has been with the Royals from the very first game in 1969. However he was the junior partner on that first radio team with veteran broadcaster Buddy Blattner.
In fact it was Buddy who actually hired Denny, giving the novice 25 year-old broadcaster his big break an launching his Hall of Fame broadcasting career. Without Buddy there may not have been a Denny. And without Denny Royals History would have at the very least sounded much differently over the last 40-plus years.
But Buddy, who passed away last September, was a true gentleman of the game long before his time here in Kansas City. Before taking up broadcasting, Blattner had already reached the big leagues as a player for his hometown St. Louis Cardinals in 1942. Then after serving in the US Navy during WWII he returned to play for the New York Giants (1946-48) and Philsdelphia Phillies (1949).
After hanging up his cleats, Buddy took to the airwaves as a broadcaster for the St. Louis Browns and later teamed up with Dizzy Dean for Major League Baseball’s nationally televised ‘Game of the Week’ broadcasts on ABC (1953-54) and CBS (1955-59).
He came to Kansas City after working from 1962-68 for the Los Angeles/California Angels wre he worked with Royals GM Cedric Tallis and for Gene Autry – a good friend of Ewing and Muriel Kauffman. His impressive resume and local ties made him an ideal lead broadcaster for the expansion Royals.
Did You Know: Buddy Blattner was a world-class table tennis player including winning the World Championship in men’s doubles in 1936. He was inducted into the United States Table Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1979.