From the SF Chronicle: Bay Area broadcaster Joe Starkey, famous for his call of “The Play” in 1982, will retire as Cal’s football radio play-by-play announcer after the 2022 season. Starkey’s “the band is out on the field” call 40 years ago is widely considered one of the most recognizable calls in sports history. However, his legacy extends far beyond a single moment or play.
I remember (Nov. 20, 1982) that call so vividly, even though I was in the car with my then baby (not quite 2 years old) son. We were running and errand, and we stayed in the car to listen to the end of the game. Earlier in the afternoon, I was watching TV and hoping we would beat the Standfurd Indians.
As time was running out, a Cal player (Paul Najarian) faked an injury so the clock would stop before Standfurd kicked the clinching field goal. Sure enough, there was enough time for a last second (4 seconds remained), desperation kick return. Cal only had ten players on the field!
I remember a few of the names (involved in the five lateral play) who carried the ball, Richard Rodgers, Sr, Dwight Garner, Mariet Ford, and mostly safety Kevin Moen, who ran the final yards and bowled over the now infamous trombone player in the end zone. The place went crazy, Starkey was screaming, almost in a soprano voice. There was chaos on the field. But, after much discussion by the officiating crew, they signaled touchdown!!! Bears win!!!!
In his 47 years calling the Bears, Starkey has been on the microphone for 538 of 545 Cal football games. His 500th game came Sept. 29, 2018, against Oregon. I wonder who will try to replace him??