My favorite announcer story, as told by Bob Costas one night on Leno or Letterman…one of those.
Back in the 1970’s, the St. Louis Cardinals had a 3-man booth: Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, Mike Shannon (who still does the games), and Bob Starr. These three were basically like grown up high-schoolers, sampling plenty of the free product of their employers (The Cardinals were then owned by Anheuser-Busch) throughout the games, singing obnoxiously dirty songs between innings, telling dirty jokes. (I spent a lot of time in the Press Box when I was a teenager thanks to my brother, and Jack Buck was like the funniest Uncle anyone ever had–just full of hysterical stories, most of them fairly off-color, and a wisecracker extraordinaire…great, great guy).
Anyway, like most teams, the Cardinals would do specialty nights: like Belleville Illinois night, when residents of that town could buy tickets from their Chamber of Commerce for cheap, or McDonnell-Douglas night, when employees of that company could get tickets from their company’s HR department for the game cheap.
Well, this particular night was Pevely Dairy Night at Busch Stadium. As is the custom, KMOX invited the representatives from the Dairy to the broadcast booth for a half-inning. Apparently, as Costas tells it, the visitors to the booth that night were a PR guy from the Dairy, and a rather fetching young lady. The two had brought along some desserts from the dairy for everyone in the booth to sample.
Anyway, the PR guy introduces the lovely young lady as “Miss Pevely Dairy”, while she passes out the desserts to the three broadcasters. Buck, Starr, and Shannon make various small talk with the PR guy in-between pitches in the inning.
The girl is still negotiating the narrow broadcast booth to pass out the rest of the desserts to Shannon when Jack Buck pipes up on mic, voice full of mischief:
“Hey Mike,” he says to Shannon, “Whaddya think of Miss Cheesecake here?”
Shannon, unfortunately, mis-hears what Buck said. What Mike Shannon heard was “What do you think of THIS cheesecake here?” He responds to that question thusly:
“Looks real good from here. I’d like to get a piece of that right now!”
The silence was deafening. Apparently Buck had to go off mic, and nearly swallowed his tongue as he tried not to howl too loudly with laughter. Starr spit whatever dessert he was eating all over the place and had to turn his mic off as well. Shannon realized almost immediately what his mistake was, and he couldn’t say anything either.
Luckily, according to Costas, Kenny Reitz hit into a double-play, ending the inning, and allowing the Cardinals’ broadcast booth to regain their composure.