Angel takes mike to Yankees Orioles broadcaster joins N.Y. radio team

October 09, 1990|By Ray Frager

You can wave him bye-bye.

WBAL Radio's Joe Angel, who has been saying "bye-bye" to Baltimore Orioles homers for three seasons, is leaving his Orioles job to become a New York Yankees radio announcer, Angel and WBAL said yesterday.

Angel will be the No. 2 announcer on WABC's Yankees broadcasts, working with John Sterling, whose partner this season, Jay Johnstone, was let go by WABC last week.

Angel ostensibly was the No. 2 man on Orioles games, but partner Jon Miller's absences for ESPN assignments put Angel in the lead role for 35 broadcasts. Next season, with Miller adding Channel 2 games to his ESPN work, the possibility existed for Angel to be more like a No. 1 1/2 , as Miller could miss half of the radio games.

That opportunity, along with other factors, made his decision difficult, Angel said.

"I have mixed feelings about the situation," Angel said yesterday from his home in California. "I've been kind of second-guessing myself all weekend.

"Baltimore is very comfortable -- the radio station, Jon Miller, thefans. . . . I was going to be the No. 1 guy for half the season."

But Angel, 42, said he couldn't pass up the chance to work in New York.

"It's the biggest market in the country," he said. "A lot of people hear you. From New York, you can go anywhere."

Though Miller said he was sad to lose "the best partner I ever had," Miller did not try talking Angel out of moving.

"I'm really happy for him," Miller said. "It's a great challenge, a great move for his career. He'll be sitting in the same seat occupied by Mel Allen and Red Barber.

"If he wants to do other things, he'll be right there," Miller said, referring to opportunities in network or cable television. "He'll be a real person to them [broadcasting executives]. He'll be Joe Angel, broadcaster for the Yankees."

WBAL learned of Angel's decision Friday, station manager Jeff Beauchamp said yesterday.

"We had been negotiating [since WBAL reached agreement on a new deal with the Orioles last month]," Beauchamp said, "and we knew someone else was involved."

Angel said he first was contacted by WABC general manager Fred Weinhaus in spring training. Weinhaus was compiling a list of potential candidates should he get an opening, Angel said.

"Both negotiations were independent of each other," Beauchamp said. "We put a real good package on the table."

But the table -- and the package -- are much bigger in New York, Angel said.

"I was looking frantically for a way to stay in Baltimore," he said. "The numbers are obviously better in New York."

Though neither Beauchamp nor Angel mentioned financial details of the announcer's new contract, they said it is a two-year deal.

Angel's departure leaves WBAL with 1 1/2 holes to fill on its radio team. Not only must a replacement be found for Angel, but the station also is seeking a fill-in announcer for the games Miller misses. Veteran broadcaster Chuck Thompson is a possibility for the substitute spot, but the job may involve more travel than Thompson -- who retired as Channel 2's play-by-play announcer after 1987 -- would like.

Beauchamp said the station hopes to hire a replacement for Angel by the end of the year, but didn't name any specific candidates.

Miller, who was consulted when Angel was hired and will be part of the process again, was ready to offer at least one suggestion yesterday.

"Ken Coleman would be a name I would definitely like to throw in there," said Miller, who worked with Coleman on Boston Red Sox radio broadcasts in 1980-82. Coleman retired after the 1989 season.

And though Angel will be replaced, it's not as if he won't be heard again in Baltimore.

"We'll still be able to hear him," Miller said. "WABC comes in pretty good here."

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