4,632 games in a row, Chris Majkowski remains all wired in as Mets radio booth engineer
Chris Majkowski was leaving his mother’s house in Albertson on the morning of Aug. 7, 1993, when he heard an urgent question — and a warning.
“She says, ‘Where are you going? You better be back in time!’ ” he recalled.
Where Majkowski was going was to Shea Stadium, but only to set up his fill-in producer/engineer for that day’s Mets radio broadcast.
Per orders, he was back in time for his sister Lisa’s wedding and missed both ends of the Mets’ doubleheader split with the Pirates that day.
“That was one that was non-negotiable,” said his identical twin brother, Paul.
Chris has not missed working a regular-season or playoff game since — although in 2020 he did road games remotely at Citi Field under COVID-19 protocols. If you are scoring at home, that is a streak of 4,632 consecutive Mets broadcasts entering Opening Day. But that is only the start of his resume.
Add the Rangers, Knicks, Jets, Giants, St. John’s and more — to the tune of up to 275 to 280 game days a year — and it is likely that no one has witnessed more games involving New York-area teams over the past 30 years.
No wonder Gary Cohen, then working on Mets and St. John’s radio with Majkowski, in the late 1990s dubbed him “The Immortal.” The nickname, a tribute to his competence and reliability, stuck. And it has helped make him far better known than a typical radio engineer.
Chris said Paul, a partner at the Rivkin Radler law firm, has joked, “I could become a Supreme Court justice and you would still be the one with the cool job.”
Majkowski, 56, grew up in Albertson with Paul and their two older sisters, rooting for the Mets, Jets and Rangers. (Paul is an Islanders fans, so not all of their DNA is a match.) While a student at Herricks High School, he listened to “One on One,” a sports talk show on Fordham’s WFUV that featured future broadcasting stars such as Mike Breen and Michael Kay. Then he went to Fordham himself, with future Giants announcer Bob Papa as his first sports director.
Majkowski initially sought a career as an announcer, too, but about a year after graduating, he got a chance to try the production end and found he was good at it. He worked a variety of jobs around town that got him experience and visibility. Then, in 1993, WFAN installed a young engineer who was overmatched and gone within weeks. Fortunately for Majkowski, he already had made an impression.
When he went to Shea for an early- season game — “I’ll be honest, I stopped in for the free lunch,” he said — he ran into then-WFAN executive Eric Spitz.
“Spitzie put two and two together and said, ‘Hey, wait a minute; he can do it,’ ” Majkowski recalled.
He met with Cohen and Bob Murphy and got the job. His first game was May 7, 1993, a four-hit, 4-0 shutout of the Marlins by Dwight Gooden.
“Immediately, it was obvious he knew what he was doing,” Cohen said. “And he got along with Murph.”
Asked to describe his job, Majkowski said, “What does the engineer do? He gets them on the air, he keeps them on the air and he makes everybody as happy as they can possibly be.”
Both Cohen and current Mets radio voice Howie Rose say that understates his importance.
“He’s far more than just an engineer,” Cohen said. “He’s really the producer on the scene. He knows the game about as well as anybody. He has fantastic recall.”
Cohen added, “He’s had to juggle some personalities over the years. You know, me and Murph and Howie, we all have our curmudgeonly sides, and so does Maj, but he’s always been able to keep us all in line.”
Said Rose, “It’s a mélange of factors that makes him as valuable as he is to us. For one thing, he loves baseball and he loves the Mets. So he’s invested in it.”
Rose called Majkowski’s streak “amazing.”
“We all come down with the occasional malady during the course of a year that as we get older, sanity dictates would require a day or two off,” Rose said. “But somehow he fights through it.”
While Majkowski has no shortage of friends, his schedule has limited his ability to socialize outside the sports world.
“When you say ‘social life,’ I’m not and I have never been married, so that helps,” he said, referring to the job demands. “But it can be a little bit of a roadblock to having a meaningful relationship at any point.”
Does that bother him? “Maybe at some point it did, but now that I’m this far in, it’s probably a little bit too late to start worrying about that,” he said. “Either that or I’ll call it quits and I’ll be a big hit at the retirement community.”
Majkowski’s favorite Mets teams are those from the late 1990s and 2000. His favorite moment? Robin Ventura’s “grand slam single” in the 1999 NLCS.
“I always felt most connected to those teams around then, 1998, ’99, 2000,” he said, recalling an era in which he and WFAN’s Ed Coleman might be out for a drink after a game and run into the likes of Al Leiter or John Franco. “That whole dynamic has changed over the years.”
On he goes, now with game No. 5,000 in sight, perhaps in 2024.
“He’s remarkably dedicated and good at what he does,” Rose said. “He’s a great guy to boot. If he were not in the booth, I would feel lost.”