When I was growing up, there were three radio voices which dominated my childhood years due to my love of Cleveland sports: Herb Score for baseball, Nev Chandler for football, and Joe Tait for basketball. We lost Chandler to cancer in 1994, while Score lived for over a decade after he retired from the radio booth, passing away in 2008. Joe Tait joined his broadcast partners today, passing away at the age of 83.
While Tait’s voice is forever linked with the Cleveland Cavaliers, calling such historical sports moments like The Miracle of Richfield and LeBron’s first trip to the NBA Finals in 2007, there is one event which I remember him for more than anything else – Len Barker’s perfect game for Cleveland in May of 1981. The most famous call of that game actually belongs to Chandler and Score, who were the radio play-by-play announcers that night, but it was Tait, along with longtime sports broadcaster Bruce Drennan, who served up the television call for WUAB-43, back when baseball games were broadcast on local television.
I did a search for Joe Tait on YouTube, hoping to find footage of the perfect game with his voice on it. While I didn’t find the actual game video, I did find a special Channel 43 broadcast about a week after the game took place. During this special, Tait and Drennan recapped the game. The recap is especially entertaining thanks to both the VERY 1980s background music (disco Also Sprach Zarathustra?!?) as well as for the commercials broadcast back then.
If you’re a lifelong Cleveland area resident, Cleveland baseball fan, or a fan of the game itself, you’re sure to enjoy this little trip down memory lane, one of many tributes to Joe Tait’s impact on Cleveland, radio, and sports.