ST. LOUIS – Mike Shannon, the beloved radio broadcaster and two-time World Series champion for the St. Louis Cardinals, has died at the age of 83.
Shannon spent more 60 years with the Cardinals organization, including 50 years as a member of the team’s radio broadcasts. On broadcasts, Shannon was well known for his “Get up, baby!” calls when the Cardinals delivered home runs.
“The St. Louis Cardinals were saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Cardinals Hall of Famer and beloved St. Louisan Mike Shannon,” said Cardinals’ owner and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. “Mike’s unique connection to Cardinals fans and his teammates was reflected in his unbridled passion for the game, the Cardinals, and the St. Louis community. On behalf of the entire Cardinals organization, we share our condolences with Mike’s family and friends, and his many fans.”
A St. Louis native, Shannon broke into the big leagues with the Cardinals in 1962. He patrolled third base and outfield for nine seasons and won World Series titles in 1964 and 1967.
Shannon was an accomplished athlete before signing a contract to play for the hometown team. He was an All-American football player at Christian Brothers College High School. In 1957, he was named Missouri’s Prep Player of the Year in both basketball and football, the only athlete in state history to receive honors in separate sports in the same year. Shannon briefly played quarterback for the University of Missouri’s freshman team before joining the Cardinals.
Former Mizzou head football coach Frank Broyles, who recruited Shannon, once said that Shannon had the talent to win the Heisman Trophy had he remained in college.
One of Shannon’s finest moments as a player came during the first game of the 1964 World Series, when he hit a game-tying, two-run homer. The Cardinals went on to win the opener and defeat the Yankees in for the championship in seven games.
On May 8, 1966, Shannon hit the final home run at the team’s former home at Sportsman’s Park, then known as Busch Stadium. Four days later, Shannon hit the first home run at Busch Memorial Stadium (Busch Stadium II).
Shannon hit .255 with 68 home runs and 367 RBI as a player. He produced his best regular-season campaign in 1967, when he hit .266 with 15 home runs, 79 RBI, and finished seventh in NL MVP voting.
Shannon’s career as a baseball player was cut short due to a kidney disease, though he dedicated his life to the Cardinals well beyond. Shannon made his Cardinals Radio Network debut alongside Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck in 1972, forming a bond through which the two called nearly three decades worth of games together on 1120 KMOX.
Shannon officially became the Cardinals’ lead radio voice in 2002 after Buck’s death. He reached a remarkable milestone of 50 years in the broadcast booth in 2021, retiring from the KMOX airwaves after that season.
Shannon was recognized in recent years by the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a finalist for the prestigious Ford C. Frick broadcasting award. He was officially inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
“All of us at Major League Baseball mourn the passing of Mike Shannon, a beloved figure in the rich history of the St. Louis Cardinals. The St. Louis native was a homegrown success, a member of two World Championship teams and a highly respected broadcaster. His close relationship with Cardinals fans demonstrates the unique impact that Baseball has linking generations of fans,” Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. said in a statement.
“On behalf of MLB, I extend my deepest condolences to Mike’s family, his friends across the game, and Cardinals fans everywhere.”
Shannon’s decorated career includes many accolades beyond that. In 1985, he earned his first Emmy Award for sports broadcasting. He was also awarded as “Sportscaster of the Year” for the state of Missouri by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) in 2002, 2003, and 2014.
Throughout the years, Shannon also made appearances for the Cardinals on their television broadcasts, occasionally as a pre-game analyst for Fox Sports Midwest. He also worked with NBC’s Baseball Game of the Week and called St. Louis Cardinals NFL football games on radio.
“My dad’s life was encapsulated by his devotion to his family, his friends, the Cardinals organization and the St. Louis community,” said Tim Shannon, Mike’s son, in a statement on behalf of the family. “My dad lived his life to the fullest, and he squeezed every drop from it.”
Shannon is the second long-time broadcaster with Cardinals ties to pass away in 2023. Tim McCarver, a teammate of Shannon’s in the 1960s, died at age 81 in February.