|Still Beloved In Baltimore, Jon Miller Stops By To Chat With Friends|
By Charlie Vascellaro
It's been 16 years since baseball Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller left town, and his appearance at the Enoch Pratt Library's main branch Tuesday night was a homecoming and reunion for the approximately 100, mostly white-haired admirers that ponied up $50 to be regaled by their familiar old friend.
Before the Orioles' home game against AL East rival Boston, Miller spoke with radio personality Scott Garceau for more than an hour following a cocktail reception when fans had a chance to approach Miller one-on-one briefly before the show. He seemed to know almost everyone in the room and was polite and cordial as people asked for his autograph or to pose for pictures.
"This man is beloved in this town," said Michael Gibbons, executive director of the Sports Legends Museum, who co-sponsored Miller's appearance with radio station 105.7 The Fan.
Miller and Garceau began the talk chronologically, taking the audience on a trip down memory lane. They began with Miller's arrival in Baltimore in 1983, when he worked with legendary Baltimore broadcaster Chuck Thompson, and reminisced about what a great year it was for the Orioles and to be a new broadcaster during such a dramatic season.
Rattling off impersonations of Thompson, Howard Cosell and others, interspersed with vintage radio clips and Miller's own microphone sound effects and one-liners, the audience laughed on cue, applauded generously and gave shout-outs to Miller and those of whom he spoke.
Miller mentioned making his first trip to Baltimore as a 22-year-old rookie broadcaster with the Oakland A's in 1974 and being cautioned by others in the booth about his wide-eyed wonder of the city.
Miller said people told him: "Just don't go outside. It's Baltimore."
Miller also talked about Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr., who were with the team through Miller's 14 seasons in town. He jokingly referenced Ripken's streak of 2,632 consecutive games played.
"Cal was a very good player," Miller said. "Too bad he always got hurt. You just couldn't count on him."
Miller said he was genuinely appreciative of his time in Baltimore.
"Anybody who has done this for a living is blessed," he said. "Chuck Thompson would say the same thing."