Jerry Girard, RIP

Posted in Sports TV at 12:01 am by

While Phil Mushnick made note of Jerry Girard’s passing Monday morning, the sad news only hit the AP wire this evening (link courtesy Wojohowicz, who adds, “seemed like most of the early ESPN anchors lifted Girard’s schtick , with half the laughs & twice the smarm.”)

Jerry Girard, a sports broadcaster for WPIX-TV in New York from 1974 to 1995, died Sunday in Hawthorne, N.Y. He was 74.

He was a disc jockey in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gary, Ind.; and Altoona, Pa., before returning to New York as a record librarian at WNEW radio. He moved to WPIX as a news writer before becoming the station™s sports voice.

His nightly television appearances to describe the day™s sports happenings were characterized by frequent acidic commentary, invariably delivered with a straight face.

Girard, who resigned from WPIX in 1995 after his weeknight shift was given to Sal Marciano, was a genuine treasure during an era in which the nightly sports highlights on broadcast TV had far greater import than today. Long before ESPN invaded every home, and years before WFAN pioneered a yack radio format that now exists in most major U.S. cities, the odd bit of commentary from the likes of Girard (along with Bob Lobel on Boston’s WBZ, was very much ahead of its time.

The Journal News notes that friends may make memorial contributions in Girard’s name to: Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester, 95 S. Broadway, Fourth Floor, White Plains, NY 10601.

20 Responses to “Jerry Girard, RIP”

  1. james caputo says:

    I was 13 and jerry was 15 when we moved to the Bronx in 1947. Jerry took me to the concrete schoolyard behind Evander Childs High School. We made a bat from a branch of a tree and with our spaulding (pink ball), we played on the bounce baseball with the handball court as our backstop. Through those early years, Jerry was a friend and a brother. He even then, was astute in sports and demanding of excellence. We spent countless days with our portable radio listening to the great Mel Allen broadcasts of the New York Yankees. Jerry achieved his life’s dream becoming a sports announcer on WPIX (Ironically the NY Yankees Station) in the big apple. His only loss in that regard was in not replacing the great Mel Allen. That would have completed the dream. Rest in Peace

  2. Thomas Ossa says:

    I heard this morning that Jerry Girard passed away.

    When I was a kid, I used to look forward to watching Jerry’s sportscasts every weeknight on WPIX. He always offered witty comments and little digs on sports figures that gave me many hours of laughter. His analysis of key moments in games, to this day, ws unique and unparalleled.

    Some ponderings: First, when Jack Cafferty replaced Marvin Scott, I always had an inkling that Jack and Jerry did not get along. One night when Jack tried to make a respondent joke to one of Jerry’s sportscasts, he replied after a long silence, “Ok…looks like Jack is trying to be a comedian.” It did not go over too well.

    Secondly, like many of the passings of time that occur in our lives, I distinctly remember a particular one: Jerry making a slightly obscene, but absolutely hilarious remark about a female tennis star (I can’t remember what it was at the moment). This was in ’95, right before he resigned from WPIX. I always supsected that this remark, received with utter silence on-air from his co-workers, was the nail in the coffin for the changing of the sportscaster guard. The next night, he was gone.

    With this change came another subtle realization on my part that the well-loved TV rituals of my youth were slipping away. The Odd Couple was being replaced by Cheers, the Honeymooners moved to a later time and Star Trek was no longer on at midnight. Time flies

    I’d like to close by saying this: Mr. Girard, thank you for being such an excellent sportscaster, one who made my evenings at 10:50 pm as a youth much more enjoyable. You will be missed. God Bless you and your family.

    Thomas Ossa

  3. Mark Miller says:

    I have missed him since the day he went off he air. I have never heard a sports reporter as funny as Jerry – ever. The way he made fun of those Mets teams from the mid 70′s to mid 80′s (and I was a Mets fan) was truly hilarious. Jerry – you were a class act and you will never be replaced. How I looked forward to your nightly reports when I was a teeneager.

  4. Paul Cousineau Jr. says:

    You were way before your time Jerry. The best ever.

  5. chris says:

    I can relate to the above as noone was funnier in sports than Girard. His dry humor was hilarious . I can remember Gerry taking funny shots at the terrible met teams in the early 80s…” The mets had a good day today…they were rained out” lol …..I cant forget that one! You were great jerry …a true original who made 1050 pm on channel 11 a very entertaining time slot …r.i.p. we miss you !

  6. john van why says:

    Gerry was the best. I remember one time he reported that the kansas City Royals had a white guy named black and a black guy named white (Frank White and Bud Black)–straight-faced as if he had just ordered a coffee. Another time he reported on Yankee releiver Rich Bordi, whose stuff he was not enamored with, that announcers gave out of town scores as his fastball was coming in toward the plate.
    john van why-Bozeman, mt.

  7. Bryan says:

    I remember Jerry’s hate/love affair with the terrible Yankee pitcher Ken Clay. He tortured him. He once remarked that no player had ever physically attacked him, except for Ken Clay “he once chased me with a bat.” He was the best.

  8. alau53 says:

    i can’t believe i just found out jerry passed away..i was talking to a friend reminising of the great times we had just talking about “girardisms” and i decided to google him..one of my favorites was “kenny holtzman gave up 4 runs in the 1st inning..but he then settled down and gave up only 3 in the 2nd”..why didnt the yankees announce his death during old timers day ..thanx for the memories jerry as i’m wiping away my tears..

  9. Randy says:

    i used to remember jerry used to be a sportscaster back in the days with steve bosh, pat harper, bill jorgensen, and bob harris. he was simply put, one of the best. he will be surely missed.

    may he rest in peace

  10. Antonio says:

    I met Jerry at his home in the Bronx..Such a native New yorker he was…Living with his father who taught me how to peel a tomato. I went there with Sandee ..Jerry was watching the game, I had no idea who he was until one day I turned on the TV and there he was.. Wooow I met a real life TV personality and that he was ..His father was quite the person too… God Keep you safe Jerry…

  11. Mike in Texas says:

    Hands down the most hilarious newscaster of all time. I used to video tape the sports on PIX One night after a Mets game, he looked in to the camera and said “Ahhhh…the Mets” and that was all he said on the Mets. He turned the paper over and moved on to the next story. Just a scream he was! Was very sad to see him leave. Thoughts and prayers to his family – thank you for sharing him with so many people for so many years. He really made a bad day brighter in just the 5 minutes he was on per night.

  12. Geos says:

    Another icon from my youth bites the dust. He was without a doubt the wittiest, most entertaining sportscaster ever. I hardly ever watched the WPIX news but I’d tune in 10:50 just to see his shtick. Even tho I loved the Mets I loved how he constantly mocked them. They usually deserved it. I passed him at the 1977 tennis US Open and said to my BF at the time: “Hey, that’s Jerry Girard.” Girard turned around and said, “Ah, my adoring public.” Hard to believe it was so long ago. Where’s that Wayback Machine?

  13. PlayOn5984 says:

    Jerry you were the best and way way ahead of your time! Jerry’s replays were in teh days when a Betamax was 2K and you earned 18k a year. I remember Jerry ripping on George Foster as a ball got past him and went all the way to wall “Nice to see he is hustling”. When The Jimmy Johnson beat the Niners in 1992 NFC Championship game like 38-21 or so Jerry did show the TDS he just showed in 2-3 replays how the speed of the Cowboys D was closing holes that appeared to be there then shut in a split second. Much better the same over and over recycled ESPN type highlights.
    I also remember winning some money on 5/9/84 at Belmont. When I got home Jerry said my horse “Play On” won the feature paying $23.80.
    RIP Jerry you were a treasure!

  14. exile1965 says:

    I remember in the summer of ’80 when Jerry was showing hightlights of Larry Holmes’ horribly one sided TKO over Scott LeDoux…”LeDoux said, ‘They stopped it when I was about to make my move.’ In other words he was about to run to his car.”

  15. Bill says:

    Jerry Girard, Stuart Klein and Roger Grimsby made watching television news in the New York area fun. Intelligent, irreverant and unbelievably witty. Jerry Girard was the best, because you never expected that kind of humor, wit and droll hilarity in a sports cast. he was hilarious and his own straight man. A giant. Still miss the guy.

  16. jack says:

    I was traveling from L.A. back home to NYC. When I arrived I saw I could get home in time for Jerry on WPIX news show. I got in my favorite chair put channel 11 on and I see Sal Marciano instead of Jerry ! I jump up grab the phone and call my friend. He tells me the news and I felt sick. I was hoping after another station would hire him. Now he’s gone and I am stuck with ESPN !

  17. paul says:

    I remember jerry from his days playing basketball every Saturday morning at Magenta Park in the Bronx even being older than everyone else he played hard and had a great set shot.

  18. Jonah Falcon says:

    I still miss Jerry Girard. Have to go to YouTube to relive his snark.

  19. Harlan says:

    Girard was a genius. One night he showed Dave Kingman striking out and called him “Mr. January.”

    He would have been a rock star on ESPN.

    Another time he showed an interesting statistic:

    Dow Jones Average: 1,850

    Ken Clay’s ERA: 1,750

    After Girard stopped working at WPIX, I didn’t watch sports on the local news anymore.

  20. The passing of guys like Jerry are just a reminder of how short life really is. When you look at these old WPIX-11 Archives it really brings back some funny memories of one of the greats!

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