The Reds Hall of Famer tells Steve Rosenbloom the keys to being an announcer. You have to combine the art of doing play-by-play with the art of storytelling. That's why I think Vin Scully's the best that's ever been. He's the greatest storyteller of all time in my profession. That's why guys aspire to work at his level. Guys won't admit that, but I will. He's the best that's ever been.
I'm definitely not a homer. I try to be as objective as I can. I can be highly critical of the team I work for. The most important thing to me is my credibility. If I don't have my credib-ility, I don't have anything.
I never plan what I'm going to say. I'm not good enough to make it not sound contrived.
To be a part of a World Series of that type (the 1975 World Series between the Reds and Red Sox.) . . . I mean, Game 6 people say may still be the greatest game in the sport.
The Rose hit (Pete Rose breaking Ty Cobb's all-time hits record), no matter how big I thought it was going to be, it was a hundred times bigger.
Kentucky-Duke, I did that game in the Spectrum in Philadelphia when Laettner hit the shot in overtime to beat Kentucky in the regionals that year. A lot of people say that's the best basketball game that's ever been played.
I've been fortunate that I've not stumbled over my words in big moments.
Five minutes after 11 that morning, I pick up the phone, and the voice said, "Marty?" I said, "This is he." He said, "This is Dale Petroskey, the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame." That's all I remember. I knew damn well he wasn't calling to ask me how I was doing. My whole career flashed in front of my face, starting in Salisbury, N.C., at a 1,000-watt radio station and broadcasting high school and American Legion baseball and football and basketball.
My given name is Franchester. My old man's two best friends were named Frank and Chester. You know I had to be a tough kid to get through life with that name.
Martin is my middle name. Thank God my mom said, "This is what we're going to call him."
I worked with Johnny Kerr for two years on television doing the Virginia Squires games.
I had the chance to come to Cincinnati and was lucky enough to get the job replacing Al Michaels. I was scared to death. That's the only time in my life I ever doubted my ability because everywhere I went for one month before spring training in '74, people said, "You've got big shoes to fill." Everybody loved Al. I really questioned whether I was good enough to take on the job.
It worked out fine. I'm in my 33rd year.
If they're going to let these guys in now with the steroid cloud, then they've got to rethink the Pete Rose thing. Absolutely. I think he's paid his price. I don't think he should ever be allowed back on the field again, but I think they need to rethink allowing him on the ballot to be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
I'm going to tell you a story that's never been told-publicly, I think. I got a call one night in the fall after the season that Dewayne Staats (former Cubs broadcaster) left to go to New York. I was having dinner and got a call from a guy who used to work at WLW in Cincinnati, our flagship station. He has since left there and owned a small radio station outside of Chicago. He said, "Would you have any interest in coming to the Chicago Cubs as a broadcaster?" I said, "I have a contract." He said, "I thought you did, and that's the reason I'm calling rather than somebody from WGN radio" because of the tampering aspect. I said, "As appealing as a job like that would be in that city for that team on that station, I'm under contract." That was the end of it. I told him to thank the people at 'GN for thinking about me.
Then it wasn't but a matter of a couple of days later that Thom (Brennaman's son, who now calls Arizona Diamondbacks games) called me and said, "The radio job is open in Chicago. What do you think?" I said, "Think about what?" He said, "Should I apply for it?" I said, "All they can do is say no." He sent a tape, and the way I understand it, the guy who was running 'GN radio at that time was a guy named Dan Fabian, and Dan was home one night and had a cardboard box full of tapes and reached in and picked one tape out, and it was Thom. Now, you talk about fate. Of all the tapes that he could've pulled out of that box, he pulled Thom Brennaman's tape out. It was a videotape of Tom doing a Reds game with Johnny Bench the previous season. I understand he watched 30 minutes of it, and after that, he was on the telephone.
Be honest with the people who listen to you every day.