Reds hire another Brennaman

Reds hire another Brennaman

CINCINNATI -- The lure of coming home to work with his father proved too irresistible for Thom Brennaman.

The 43-year-old veteran broadcaster, the son of Hall of Fame voice Marty Brennaman, joined the Reds' radio and television broadcast teams on Wednesday and was signed to a four-year contract.

"I just can't tell you how excited I am to be back here," Thom Brennaman said during a press conference at Great American Ball Park. "This is just awesome."

Brennaman, who worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks since their inception in 1995 and did television play-by-play the past nine seasons, will work approximately 90 games for the Reds. Of those, 45 will be on radio with his father at WLW-AM.

The rest will be with FSN Ohio, which expanded its television rights next season, from 100 to 145 games. Current broadcasters George Grande and Chris Welsh remain contracted to do 100 games.

An opening next to Marty Brennaman was created at WLW when the Reds decided to not to renew the contract of partner Steve Stewart in August. Thom said that he'd read about Stewart's situation, but since he was under contract with Arizona, never made any inquiries with his father.

Marty Brennaman, who has 42 seasons in broadcasting, joined the Reds in 1974. He was honored with the Ford Frick Award and joined the broadcaster's wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.

"I didn't think this day would ever come," Marty Brennaman said. "I quite honestly never dreamed it would ever come. I've always been envious of Jack Buck, God rest his soul, for getting to work with Joe. Harry [Caray], who worked with his grandson, Chip, and then Skip would work with his son, Chip, now in Atlanta. There were so many obstacles to overcome to get [Thom] to come to Cincinnati."

Among the bigger roadblocks -- Thom was still under contract with the Diamondbacks. The Reds, led by chief executive officer Bob Castellini and chief operating officer John Allen, sought permission to speak with Brennaman in late August.

"Jeff Moorad, our CEO with the Diamondbacks, left a message saying he got a very interesting phone call," said Thom. "'The Reds called to ask for permission to talk to you.' I was as stunned as probably he was when he got the call."

Brennaman said "a half-dozen" clubs had sought permission to talk with him, but he never had any interest. He also did not seek the Reds opening in 2003 when Stewart replaced retiring legend Joe Nuxhall.

"The last couple of times it's been open, I really haven't been interested," he said. "I was at a place in time where I was still trying to build my career. I'm still trying to build my career."

Arizona granted permission this time and eventually released Brennaman from his obligation so he could move to Cincinnati. He thanked his old boss, Moorad, and also praised Castellini and Allen for helping clear numerous obstacles.

"They have made dreams come true today," Brennaman said. "The dream of working with my dad, who I still feel is the best announcer in baseball. I don't say that as a son about his dad. I listen to games on radio. He is the best broadcaster in Major League Baseball. I hope I can still learn from him."

Another consideration was a personal one. Brennaman's wife, Polly, was born and raised in the Phoenix area, and the couple has two children, Ella Mae and Luke.

"If she wanted to say no, [it would be] no problem," Brennaman said. "But once I could feel she was turning and going in that direction, [it was a] no-brainer as far as everything else."

A Cincinnati native, Brennaman attended Anderson High School and went to college at Ohio University. One of his first professional jobs was calling Reds games on WLWT-TV in the late 1980s with Johnny Bench. He was also a weekend sports anchor for the station and later he went on to call University of Cincinnati men's basketball games on WXIX-TV.

A play-by-play job to call Cubs games for WGN television and radio lured Brennaman out of Cincinnati for six seasons. From there it was on to Arizona, but Cincinnati was never far from his thoughts.

"This is a town that I love and care about more than you can ever know," he said. "Whether I was in Chicago or Phoenix or all parts in between, I can tell you what's going on with Anderson High School football. I can tell you Colerain and St. X are going play a [heck] of a game sometime this fall. I can tell you what's going on with UC basketball, and I can tell you that the Buckeyes are on their way to playing in Glendale on Jan. 8 [in the BCS college football championship]."

Whether or not Ohio State is playing in the national championship, Brennaman will call play-by-play for the FOX television network, as well as for NFL games. He will also continue to work play-by-play on FOX's national baseball Game of the Week. Because of the new broadcast contract FOX has with Major League Baseball, he will miss Friday and Saturday Reds games for 26 weeks.

"We found a way to work through it," Brennaman said. "John and I sat down on the phone and in person and just hammered through all this kind of stuff. It's rare that you find organizations anywhere that will let you do both of these things. I'm so grateful they are allowing me to do both."

A few more questions remain for the Reds -- namely, who will fill out the television and radio teams? Allen said that the club is looking for someone to do 120 games on WLW and about 15 ro 20 for FSN.

"We're looking. We don't have a timeline," Allen said. "Ideally, it would be a former player. Never say never, but our focus on that position so far he been a former player."

Where does Nuxhall, who came back for a handful of games this season, fit in? Allen said that Nuxhall could return for eight or nine games on radio next season depending on his health and the schedule.

Finally, what are Marty Brennaman's long-term plans? The 64-year-old told last month that he'd like to have four more years on the air full-time before cutting to a part-time schedule. On Wednesday he saw a clear line of succession forming with Thom.

"I told them if the day ever comes and they want to make him the marquee name in this grouping, they've got my blessing," Marty said. "If they want me to do three innings and he did six, that's fine with me. If I'm going to pass the torch, so to speak, I might as well pass it on to my son."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.