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Joe Garagiola's son says his dad is 'doing OK'

Former MLB catcher and broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr.

Former MLB catcher and broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr. poses in a March 1951 photo. Credit: AP

The last -- and only -- time the Mets overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the World Series, the men in the booth for NBC in 1986 were Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola, two of the biggest broadcasting names of the era.

Even younger fans know of Scully, still on the job for the Dodgers at 87, but they likely do not realize how big Garagiola was, a personality who crossed over into the wider entertainment world. He was the Michael Strahan of his day, only more so.

Garagiola, 89, left NBC after the 1988 World Series and retired from broadcasting after working as a part-time analyst for the Diamondbacks as recently as 2012.

He was thought by many to be in ill health when he did not make the trip from his Arizona home last month for the funeral of his friend since toddlerhood in St. Louis, Yogi Berra.

But his son, Major League Baseball executive Joe Garagiola Jr., said before Game 2 of the World Series that his father is "doing OK. He's watching all the games. He loves this time of year.

"Obviously, Yogi's passing was a tough thing for him. But I think as he thinks about it, he's grateful for the extraordinary friendship the two of them shared. Literally, to correctly use the often misused word literally, he can never remember not knowing Yogi. Their parents lived across the street from each other."

The younger Garagiola, who represented the family at Berra's funeral, said his father no longer travels or drives, but he sometimes attends Diamondbacks games.

Is the former major-league catcher and famed raconteur still a sharp observer of the game?

"Oh, yeah, completely," Garagiola Jr. said. "He has lost none of his baseball acumen. It's fun to watch a game with him, and he'll critique everybody -- both managers, the catchers, the umpires. Those skills are as sharp as ever."


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