Joe Garagiola - 2006
The Midwestern roots of Joe Garagiola helped propel him into the national television spotlight, eventually hosting the Today Show on NBC. Joe grew up on Elizabeth Street on The Hill, St. Louis’ storied neighborhood. Signed to a professional baseball contract at age 16 by Branch Rickey, Garagiola played five seasons for the Cardinals, including the 1946 championship year. When his baseball career ended in 1954, he joined KMOX Radio and broadcast Cardinals’ games. He later moved to the Yankees’ broadcast booth, which led to Garagiola’s play-by-play assignment for NBC that lasted 27 years. Two stints with the “Today Show” capped his illustrious broadcast career. A 1973 winner of television’s Peabody Award, Joe Garagiola entered the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991.