Alabama Not Just Football: 30 Amazing People Who Were Built By Bama

20 of 30

Jan 25, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Flags fly above the stadium facade during practice the day before the Stadium Series hockey game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Mel Allen

Mel Allen was born in Birmingham, AL and attended the University of Alabama as an undergraduate and a law student.

In 1933 he was recommended by Frank Thomas to serve as the play-by-play announcer for Alabama football games on WBRC. His first game was the home opener that season against Tulane.

He graduated from the University Of Alabama School Of Law in 1937. After graduation he took a vacation to New York City. While on vacation he auditioned to be a staff announcer at CBS Radio. Executives at CBS were familiar with his work on Crimson Tide broadcasts and offered him the job.

Allen started at CBS with primarily non-sports, including concerts and game shows. In the first year of his career at CBS, he announced the Hindenburg crash. He also gained fame by improvising a thirty minute broadcast during a rain delayed auto race.

He was called on as the color commentator for the 1938 World Series. After a successful broadcast, he was called up to the majors during the 1939 season to replace Garnett Marks on New York Yankees and Giants broadcasts after an embarrassing mispronunciation of a sponsor’s brand name got Marks fired.

Mel Allen served as the play-by-play announcer for both teams until 1943, when he left broadcasting for a short period to fight for his country in World War II. He joined the Army and continued broadcasting on Armed Forces Radio and The Army Hour.

After the war, Mel Allen returned to sports broadcasting as the play-by-play announcer for the Yankees. He held that position until 1964 and returned to broadcasting for the Yankees from 1976 to 1985. Allen called 22 World Series and 24 MLB All-Star Games.

His broadcasting talents were not limited to baseball. Mel Allen also called fourteen Rose Bowls, two Sugar Bowls, and two Orange Bowls. Mel Allen died in 1996.

Next: Kathryn