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April 3, 2007 | 3 Comments

Post to the Host:
Garrison, I am a long time fan of PHC and also a fan of the Twins. I just read that in one of your songs you wrote "Just give me two pillows and a bottle of beer/And the Twins game on radio next to my ear/Some hark to the sound of the loon or the teal/ But I love the voice of Herb Carneal." I was just wondering if you would comment on the loss of this gentle voice.


Herb Carneal died this week at 84, who was the play-by-play announcer of the Minnesota Twins broadcasts on WCCO radio for forty-some years. He had a very pleasant Southern voice that was a natural for radio: distinctive and immediately recognizable but never abrasive or irritating. He let the game take precedence, wasn't verbose or self-dramatic, rarely had to correct himself, all of which made him outstanding in his field, but he exerted a powerful emotional pull on so many people for whom summer and the smell of fresh-cut grass and a screened porch and the voice of Herb were all bound up together. I met Herb a couple of times and he was very courtly as one might expect a baseball man to be. Herb wrote an autobiography which was pretty boring — he was utterly self-effacing and hadn't a cruel bone in his body, neither of which is good for an author — but as a radio man, he was one of a kind. He was the voice of summer languor. Sitting in a wicker chair on a porch, drinking a beer, wasting your life, loving the cadence of baseball, drifting along with that gentle voice. I wish they'd put a couple Twins games on CDs so that when I'm old, I could be young again now and then.


I experience the same sense of loss when I watch the various animal programs on TV. No announcer comes even close to the gentle tones, coming from the underbrush, of George Page. I really miss him.

Mr. Keillor,

Your description of listening to Herb Carneal brought back many fond memories. I also wish the Twins would release some radio boradcasts (the 1987 & 91 World Series games, for example) on CD for us to enjoy for years to come.

Garrison --

I had the good fortune of sitting next to Mrs. Carneal in the early days of The Dome. As masterful and pleasant as Herb was, his wife was as dignified, graceful, and oh-so-pleasant. As a Twins fans in exile, Colorado Springs, The Evangelical Vatican, I am truly a pilgrim in an unholy land. But Herb's voice, his "Hi, everybody" that began the broadcast when I roadtripped it home, normally a bit west of De Moines, was and will be almost as soothing as Mom's caramel rolls.

Thanks for letting me say this.

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