Bob Harris…. Last Of A Breed

BobLee
July10/ 2016

BobHarrisXGiven a Do-Over or 2nd-Time-Around, I’d opt for either baseball umpire or “Voice Of”. Duke’s Bob Harris doesn’t need a Do-Over to be exactly what he was born to do for the past 40 years – The “Voice of” The Duke Blue Devils.

Bob announced his Farewell Tour last week. The upcoming 2016-17 football / basketball seasons will be it for Bob. He will be signing off next Spring.

Here is a compilation of all of the details of Bob’s four decades “behind the mike” at The Wally and in Cameron and wherever his beloved Blue Devils were playing. – LINK .

http://www.goduke.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=4200&ATCLID=211052312

If there is a niche profession where “good guys” seem to thrive in abundance, I think Voice Of might be it. At least it has been so for the past 50 years or so in American Sports. Like so much in our rapidly evolving (dissolving ??) society, Voice Of ain’t exactly a growth profession. There is no next generation of Voices Of on the horizon.

Bob Harris will always be linked to his fellow Albemarlian Voice Of Woody Durham. That both came out of Albemarle within a few years of one another and ended up as competing Voices Of heated 15-501 rivals thru the same four decades assures their permanent bond. Woody for the much larger fan base, and self-acclaimed, Flagship and Bob for the esteemed elite Gothic Rockpile eight miles to East.

Have I mentioned that Bob is a long time regular enjoyer of a certain Internet Legend’s provocative website? He is. Something he most definitely does NOT share with Bre’r Durham. Ol’ Woodrow doesn’t much care for the opinions we offer here. Understandable.

Upon the passing of Don Shea I said “Anyone who didn’t like Don Shea, never met Don Shea”. The same goes for Bob Harris. If you have a terminal case of HateDook and automatically include Bob, then shame on you. Yes, Bob is a Tru-DukeBlue Blood and a Tru-Hail Fellow Well Met.

Perhaps the best summation of the Bob Harris / Woody Durham perceptions is a comment I recall from a quite passionate C-Blue Kool-Aid consuming Franklin Streeter about ten years ago…. To paraphrase:

….. I turn off the TV sound and listen to Woody call the games because I know he (Woody) will tell it like it is….. NOT like that pathetic “homer” Bob Harris over at Duke. ….. YEEE HAA! Even “my buddy” Chansky laughed at the absurdness of that.

Woody Durham “telling it like it is” ranks along with Bill Clinton’s “I did NOT have sex with that woman” among grand knee-slapping comedic quotes of the past 50 years.

To Woody’s defense and that fan’s criticism of Bob Harris….. all Voices Of are about as objective as “Baghdad Bob” reporting on Desert Storm… or whatever dead-eyed dimwitted Pinocchio is Press Secretary / shill for whoever is POTUS.

A Voice Of who is not an overtly partisan “homer” / shill for his employer will last about as long as a PGA Tour golfer with the “yips”…. or an MLB pitcher with Steve Blass disease (can’t throw strikes) …. or an NFL place-kicker with plantar fasciitis. Not very long.

He better be an eternal tub-thumping optimist for “our boys” …. and sincere as possible that “we” are God’s chosen team. Victory would surely have been “ours” had time not run out or the forces of pure evil not ganged up on us.

Alas, with the retiring of the latest generation of Voices Of beginning with Kentucky’s Cawood Ledford…. Georgia’s Larry Munson…. and Woody and now Bob Harris it will end a most colorful era of sports entertainment.

Oh to be a Bob Prince…. Harry Caray…. Milo Hamilton…. Johnny Most…. Ernie Harwell…. Jack Buck…. and The Best of The Best – kaiton_chuck_kkVin Scully.

No mention of play-by-play Voices Of “good guys” is complete with including Chuck Kaiton – Voice Of The Hurricanes high on the list.

There will always be play-by-play guys calling games for sure; but not the colorful “us versus them” homers we loved or despised depending on where we were on our radio dial.  Plus there was the “paint a word picture” aspect of sports on radio versus the “see for yourself” aspect of sports on TV.

When I would hear a rabid partisan blasting Woody or Bob for being “homers” I would ask “so why were you listening to them?” Wouldn’t one have to be a real masochist to listen to a hated rival’s play-by-play guy call a game? I mean REALLY?

I love following the St Louis Cardinals. Thru MLB.prime I can watch EVERY Cardinals game via the Cardinals’ Network – FoxSportsMidwest). The Cardinals’ guys know all the locker room scoop as well as team history and, yes, they are “homers”.

Watching national telecasts I usually have no clue who the announcers are, nor do I care. Like so many, I do find Dick Vitale annoying and a pathetic caricature of himself.  I “blame Vitale”for many of the misplaced priorities in Big Time College Basketball.   Brent Musbarger is waaaay past his prime. Other than those two, I don’t pay attention.

“Radio” is certainly not a growing media platform. I have had my current car for six months and have not turned the radio on. I am listening to audio books when I am driving.   Any sports event I care about is going to be on TV somehow.

I am sure there are still a few fans sitting by their radios listening to an oh-so-familiar voice “describing the action”. But there aren’t very many of those left. If there aren’t many attentive ears, there won’t be advertisers wishing to promote their products…. and without a revenue stream, there won’t be Voices Of anymore.

We wish “good guy” Bob Harris happy trails and pleasant memories of so many Blue Devils victories.

We should all “love what we do” and be as “loved for doing it for so long” as The Voice of The Duke Blue Devils – our friend – Bob Harris.

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Those BIG CHANGES Are “Just Around The Corner” …..

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BobLee

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Deon McCormick
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Deon McCormick

As a former Duke football player, it’s sad to see Bob Harris go. His voice alone would get any player motivated to play, any coach motivated to coach, and any fan motivated to cheer. You will be missed.

Deon “Chop” McCormick #10 — Trinity ’07

wolfdon
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wolfdon

Agree that Ray Reeve was fun to hear announce basketball games from Reynolds way back then, however, he was not really the voice of the WP “only ” , if I recall correctly. Seems to me he was also the voice of the Tar Heels in football for quite a while also. Just saying……

ultraviolet
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ultraviolet

“To Woody’s defense and that fan’s criticism of Bob Harris….. all Voices Of are about as objective as “Baghdad Bob” reporting on Desert Storm… or whatever dead-eyed dimwitted Pinocchio is Press Secretary / shill for whoever is POTUS.”

You will need to listen sometime to Jeff Charles, voice of the Pirates, to witness the antithesis of that phenomenon. …much to our chagrin sometimes.

MercerMac
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MercerMac

Course my dawg is not in this deal/fight ( not really a fight ) but from a down east-er listening in, I always called him Woody Chapel Hill. He was a homer no doubt but that is expected and he lived up to that expectation. Just saying…I never heard Bobby Harris one time in my 70 yrs. I am sure he was a winner.

Doug
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Doug

It’s a shame many of us residing outside of Kentucky never got a chance to regularly hear Cawood Ledford and Ralph Hacker calling UK basketball games. I was almost always in Lexington or somewhere in the state during basketball season for almost 30 years plying my trade. Those two were the best tandem I’ve ever heard calling games. Listening on WHAS-AM in Louisville, when Cawood would say the Cats were moving from left to right on your radio dial, the listener immediately knew which end of the court at Memorial Coliseum and later Rupp Arena, UK was playing offense or… Read more »

NCSU68Grad
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NCSU68Grad

Admit that I have only listened to Bob Harris a couple of dozen times or so over his career. BUT, he is a true professional. Wish him well in his retirement. Wish there were MORE like him. He deserves to be in the lofty list of folks like Wally and Bill (Jackson). They, too, were also “hometown goobers” who had a certain bias towards the team that they were the “Voice of” BUT, they did it with pride and without “vengeance” against the opposition. Like BK of WP Fame, I have listened to NCSU games on transistor radios in Reynolds,… Read more »

58WolfKennel
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58WolfKennel

“BL, your list of recent classic columns is growing impressively. Your promise of something big getting ready to happen must be a new book :>)) . Great history on Bob Harris, but I must admit I have not been able to listen to him very much over the past 40 years, partly because I was out of State for 20 of those years and then listened to NC State announcers for the last 20 after retiring back to the State. The same goes for previous announcer subjects such as the Durhams. . Therefore my most salient comments on this “Voice… Read more »

Maha
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Maha

I always liked Bill Currie and Jack Callahan. What did you think of them?

RaleighJacket
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RaleighJacket

One of the best play by play announcers I have heard in my 50+ years of listening to college sports on the radio is Woody’s son, Wes Durham. Woody had a certain charm, but Wes was the best at letting you know what was actually going on in the game and painting a word picture in your mind of the game. We Georgia Tech fans miss having him as he was a great follow on to the legendary Al Ciraldo at Tech. Our loss is the rest of the country’s gain since he has taken a position on Fox. It… Read more »

Allen W. Smothers
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Great call BobLee… As a sports broadcast lifer and friend of Bob Harris (although, everyone he ever encountered will call Bob Harris a Friend!), our industry is losing its soul… My idols Wally Ausley & Garry Dornburg, Jim Phillips, Bob Fulton, Al Ciraldo, Bob Ward, Larry Munson, et al, Woody a couple of years ago, now Bob Harris….. They paved the way and painted the pictures in our mind, when there were no TV broadcasts. They were an intimate part of our lives and were the only outlet to follow our beloved teams! I love each and every one of… Read more »