Brenner's wit will be missed, but not as much as the man

January 15, 1992|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,Evening Sun Staff

Glenn Brenner told of the time he was a pitcher in the minor leagues. No more than 10 seconds had elapsed and a crowd was moving in. People sort of gathered around when they sensed a Brenner story coming:

"I couldn't get anybody out. I mean, I was bad-bad. It was just the third inning and the other team had about a dozen hits already. Birdie Tebbetts was working as a minor-league instructor for the Mets then and he came out to the mound. I said, 'Birdie, Birdie, help me, help me, what is it, what's wrong?'

"Out of the corner of his mouth, very firmly, Tebbetts answered, 'Horse-spit pitcher.' At that moment I knew I was headed for some other business."

The roar of laughter of the listeners was exceeded only by that of the man himself, Glenn Brenner, who has left us.

Glenn died of a brain tumor yesterday at age 44. He will be missed hugely, not only by the folks who knew him but by the thousands who were entertained and enlightened by his work as a sportscaster for Channel 9 (WUSA) in Washington the last 15 years.

To say Brenner put sports in perspective with a wit that matched that of any late night television host would be only fair. He took his shots, to be sure, but rare is it when anyone took umbrage with his remarks, so perceptive and respected was he.

Glenn was at his best when he and best friend, anchor Gordon Peterson, would spar at the beginning of his segment on the station's highly rated news. Peterson enjoyed exchanging barbs and robbing his buddy of his allotted time. Actually, it played to Brenner's strength.

In rat-a-tat style, barely pausing for breath, the sportscaster charged through the scores, explained what was happening on the tape and delivered the news, never missing a quip. His favorite segue was to finish a five-minute spot in about three minutes with never a word out of place and feign exhaustion by plopping down on the desk.

Glenn Brenner left pro baseball in 1972 because of problems with his arm. "Yeah," he said, "I couldn't throw the damn ball hard enough." He got into the broadcast business working both sports and news at radio stations in New Jersey and West Virginia. He became a full-time sportscaster on TV in 1976, first in his native Philadelphia, then Washington.

Several years ago, Brenner got into running and, in early November, completed the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. He suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and, during surgery last Friday, was found to have an inoperable brain tumor. The Redskins dedicated their NFL conference championship over Detroit Sunday to Glenn.

He is survived by his wife, Susie, and three children.

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