Pete Van Wieren
Skip Caray (left) and Pete Van Wieren acknowledging fans at a Braves game in 1983.
|Died||August 2, 2014 (aged 69)|
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
|Alma mater||Cornell University|
Pete Van Wieren (October 7, 1944 - August 2, 2014), a native of Rochester, New York, was an American sportscaster best known for his long career calling play-by-play for Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves.
From 1976 to 2008, he called the team's television and/or radio broadcasts, teaming with a number of on-air partners including Ernie Johnson, Don Sutton and Skip Caray (who was hired by the club at the same time as himself). Johnson originally nicknamed Van Wieren "The Professor" because Van Wieren looked like pitcher Jim Brosnan. The moniker stuck for his in-depth knowledge of the game and thorough preparation before broadcasts.
According to Van Wieren himself, on the September 17, 2007, Atlanta Braves Radio Network broadcast, he worked for the Washington Post in the 1960s. He did not say what his position was at the paper, only that he met Shirley Povich while he was there.
Along with Caray, Van Wieren was inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame in 2004, joining an impressive list in Braves history that already included Hank Aaron, Lew Burdette, Del Crandall, Tommy Holmes, Ernie Johnson, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, Dale Murphy, Kid Nichols, Ted Turner, Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn.
On December 18, 2006, the Braves announced that Van Wieren had signed a three-year contract to continue doing Braves broadcasts on the radio.
An eight-time winner of the Georgia Sportscaster of the Year award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, Van Wieren broadcast a number of sports in addition to Braves baseball. After joining TBS Sports in 1975, he covered Atlanta Hawks basketball, Atlanta Flames hockey, Big Ten Conference college football, Atlanta Falcons pre-season football, and NBA games on TBS and TNT. He has also served as a sports reporter for CNN.
In 1995, Van Wieren alongside Larry Dierker called Games 1-3 of the National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and Colorado Rockies for The Baseball Network. The first two games were broadcast on NBC while Game 3 was on ABC.
On October 21, 2008, Van Wieren unexpectedly announced his retirement from broadcasting effective immediately, after 33 seasons with the Braves. His departure came less than three months after the death of his longtime on-air partner Skip Caray. The broadcast booth for the Braves' home games at Turner Field is named for Van Wieren.
Van Wieren co-wrote a book titled Of Mikes and Men: A Lifetime of Braves Baseball with Jack Wilkinson. It was released in April 2010.
On November 4, 2009, Van Wieren was diagnosed with cutaneous B-cell lymphoma. He suffered a relapse and additional rounds of chemotherapy after a recurrence in the fall of 2010. On August 2, 2014, Van Wieren died from complications of lymphoma. He was married to Elaine Van Wieren, with whom he had two children, from 1964 until his death.