ST. LOUIS – Longtime St. Louis Cardinals catcher and MLB broadcaster Tim McCarver has died at the age of 81.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame first reported McCarver’s death Thursday afternoon, noting that he died in the company of family.

McCarver, a two-time World Series champion with the Cardinals, played 12 seasons in St. Louis.

A Memphis native, McCarver made his MLB debut with the Cardinals in 1959 at the age of 17. He earned two All-Star nods with the Cardinals and finished as runner-up of the National League MVP in 1967.

After baseball, McCarver became more well-known nationally for his work in TV broadcast with FOX Sports. He formed a strong partnership with Joe Buck, working together to call for 23 World Series and 20 MLB All-Star Games.

McCarver’s work in broadcast led him to three Emmy Awards, the 2012 Ford C. Frick Award and Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame honors in 2016.

“I think there is a natural bridge from being a catcher to talking about the view of the game and the view of the other players,” McCarver told the Hall in 2012, the year he and Buck were given the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting. “It is translating that for the viewers. One of the hard things about television is staying contemporary and keeping it simple for the viewers.”

As a catcher, McCarver ranks Top 50 among primary MLB backstops all-time with a 28.7 WAR rating. Behind the plate, he caught more than and, 11600 innings, threw out more than 300 baserunners attempting steals and fielded at a .990 clip.

McCarver caught many talented pitchers in his prime, including Hall-Of-Famers Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. He made 228 starts as a starting battery mate of Carlton and 197 such starts with Gibson.

“Behind every successful pitcher, there has to be a very smart catcher, and Tim McCarver is that man,” Carlton said during his Hall of Fame speech in 1994.

“It would take us an inning or too to get on the same page, but pretty much once the game got going, we were there,” said Gibson on McCarver in a 2018 Bally Sports Midwest interview.

As a hitter, McCarver collected 1,501 hits with 97 home runs and 645 RBIs with a lifetime .271 batting average. One of the biggest hits came in Game 5 of the 1964 World Series, during which he delivered an extra-innings home run in an eventual Cardinals victory.

After his Cardinals days, McCarver also spent nine years with the Philadelphia Phillies, two years with the Boston Red Sox and one year with the Montreal Expos. Wrapping up his baseball career in 1980, McCarver is among a small handful of MLB players to have competed in four different decades.

McCarver pursued broadcasting shortly after he retired as a player. Within a few years, he called games for the Phillies, New York Mets and New York Yankees. He also became Jack Buck’s sidekick for baseball broadcasts on CBS, a role he reprised with his son Joe Buck on FOX Sports from 1996 to 2013.

One of McCarver’s most iconic calls came during Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. The score was tied 2-2 as the New York Yankees drew in their infield with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks. New York’s Hall-of-Fame closer Mariano Rivera was facing Arizona’s Luis Gonazlez.

“Rivera throws inside to left-handers,” McCarver noted. “Left-handers get a lot of broken-bat hits into shallow outfield, the shallow part of the outfield. That’s the danger of bringing the infield in with a guy like Rivera on the mound.”

Moments later, Gonzalez did exactly just that. He got just enough of a bloop single to short center field and drove in the series-clinching run.

McCarver also joined various Cardinals broadcasts on FOX Sports Midwest from 2014 to 2019, a stretch during which he was also inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. He officially retired from his broadcasting duties in April 2022.