The Voice Of The Team.

Back in December I somehow missed the news that Joe Starkey is going to stop calling play-by-play for the 49ers:

The tipping point for Starkey was the weekend of Nov. 22-23, with the Big Game in Berkeley on Saturday and the 49ers in Dallas on Sunday. Starkey said he could not get a flight to Dallas from San Francisco until 12:45 a.m. PST Sunday, with an arrival time around 7 a.m. CST. He could not get a hotel room at that time of day and got no sleep prior to the noon kickoff at Texas Stadium. Starkey developed laryngitis returning from Dallas and ended up missing the next two 49ers games, at Buffalo and against the Jets at Candlestick.

I’m impressed that Starkey has been able to juggle calling both Cal games and 49er games for so long (since 1975 for Cal, and 1989 for San Francisco). Still, I think this is a loss for Bay Area sports on a whole, and I know that I’ll miss listening to Starkey call Niners games. Football is not a sport suited to radio; it’s faster and more visual than, say, baseball. But Starkey somehow managed to perfectly sketch out the action on the field, in only a few words and always with palpable excitement. I followed football much closer when I was in high school, and on those agonizing fall Sundays when I wasn’t able to watch the game, Starkey was there. He was far and away the best football announcer I’ve ever heard, and the 49ers will miss him.