Van Patrick

Van Patrick (August 15, 1916 – September 29, 1974) was an American sportscaster, best known for his play-by-play work with the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers.

Patrick called Lions games from 1950 until his death in 1974[1] He had two stints with the Tigers, broadcasting for the team for one season in 1949 and then again from 1952 to 1959.[2]

During the 1960s and 1970s, Patrick was sports director for the Mutual Broadcasting System and broadcast Notre Dame football and Monday Night Football for the network. He also did TV sports news segments during news broadcasts on Detroit's WJBK-TV. He had superb knowledge of both football and baseball, and was widely admired for his broadcasting skills during his radio heyday. He did not make the transition to television well, as he was naturally bald and insisted on wearing a very inexpensive toupée in television appearances. "Van Patrick's toupée" was a source of many jokes in the Detroit area during that period.

He graduated from Texas Christian University (TCU), where he played football with future Washington Redskins quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Baugh.[3] He also played baseball and basketball at TCU.

After graduating, he began his broadcast career as a baseball play-by-play announcer in various minor leagues, including the International League, the Texas League and the old Southern Association.[3] His first major league play-by-play broadcasting was with the world-champion-to-be Cleveland Indians in 1948.[3] He also called the World Series along with celebrated sportscaster Red Barber.[3] Game 2 of that Series announced by Patrick, won by the Indians, made television history. Telecast live from Braves Field in Boston, it was shown aboard the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Marylander passenger train travelling between Washington, D.C. and New York City using a receiver operated by Bendix Corporation technicians.[4] An Associated Press reporter observing the demonstration said, "Technically, it was surprisingly good."[4]

From 1949 to 1953, Patrick was sports director at Detroit station WJR.[3] At the time of his death in 1974, he owned four radio stations.[5] He died of cancer while preparing to call a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, Indiana.


The Notre Dame Club of Chicago established the Van Patrick Award to honor Patrick's memory.[6]


  1. "Van "The 'Ol Announcer" Patrick". Archived from the original on 2006-06-18. Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  2. The Official Site of The Detroit Tigers: History: Tigers All-Time Broadcasters
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Detroit Tigers Official Profile, Photo and Data Book, Detroit Tigers (1957).
  4. 1 2 "Train Television Shows Ball Game" (PDF). The New York Times. October 8, 1948. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  5. Van Patrick |
  6. "Gifford Receives Broadcasting Award". Florence Morning News. December 18, 1976. p. 34. Retrieved May 19, 2016 via
Preceded by
Monday Night Football national radio play-by-play announcer
Succeeded by
Lindsey Nelson
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