Rex Barney is back, thank yooouuuu Popular O's announcer returns to the booth.

July 01, 1992|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,Staff Writer

After 17 home games on the disabled list, Rex Barney was to return to the microphone today at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

"I can't begin to tell you how much I've missed it," the Orioles' public address announcer said.

Mr. Barney, 67, the Orioles announcer for 26 years, had his right leg amputated below the knee at Sinai Hospital on May 26. He was hospitalized five weeks before continuing his recuperation at home.

He said he planned to be at the stadium at 9 a.m. for this afternoon's game against the Milwaukee Brewers. He originally planned to return after the All-Star break.

"I probably followed the game a lot closer while I was out," Mr. Barney said. "I love listening to Jon Miller and Joe Angel [Orioles radio broadcasters], but it's not like being there."

While recuperating, Mr. Barney continued to do a daily baseball commentary segment for WBAL radio and plans to resume his sport stalk show on July 18. He also put finishing touches on his book, "Thank You for My 50 Years in Baseball," due out in February.

Mr. Barney said he received "tons of cards and letters" from well-wishers. Orioles owner Eli Jacobs and most of the players and coaches called. He had daily contact with manager Johnny Oates.

Ex-teammates Sandy Koufax and Duke Snider, National and American league presidents Bill White and Dr. Bobby Brown, and Gov. William Donald Schaefer also made contact.

Mr. Barney takes daily therapy at Kernan Hospital and will be in a wheelchair for today's game. He said he hopes to be able to use crutches in about a month.

TC Mr. Barney said he now fully appreciates how accessible Oriole Park at Camden Yards is for disabled fans. He said the many ramps and elevators give him full access to all parts of the park.

Since Mr. Barney has been sidelined, an array of people -- including "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak and TV reporter Kelly Saunders, the team's first female announcer -- have handled the announcing duties.

None of the announcers dared try Mr. Barney's signature "Thank youuu" sign-off, but some did use his "give that fan a contract" line after a good foul-ball grab.

Mr. Barney said he recently talked about his book with Orioles' Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer.

"He said it didn't have a good ending. He said to do something like this to make it more dramatic."

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