The first time I went to Canton, Ohio to broadcast a AA game, it was the opener of the 1993 season. This was before the Internet, so going to a different city meant hearing a baseball announcer I had never heard before. While my partner and I broadcast our game, I recorded the Indians game to listen to in the hotel room later. That was the first time I heard Tom Hamilton and I couldn’t believe my ears. I still can’t when I hear him now.
After 3 years with the Columbus Clippers AAA team, the Waterloo Wisconsin native joined the Indians in 1990 with Herb Score as his color man. They lasted as a team until Score’s retirement in 1997. Mike Hegan is the best known of several former players to work with Hamilton. Since 2010 his color commentator has been another trained broadcaster, Jim Rosenhaus.
Hamilton’s style as loud cheerleader and broadcaster was the style of Tom Manning, the first announcer from Cleveland to gain national fame. Manning brought a boyish boundless enthusiasm to the World Series on NBC radio between 1929 and 1938, not to mention the first 8 AllStar games (1933-1940.) That same enthusiasm comes through with Hamilton’s every word. Last year, with Terry Pluto he transferred that enthusiasm to the printed page, in a book called “Glory Days in Tribe Town.” The only thing missing is an audio edition. If that ever is recorded Hamilton should narrate it. Besides the radio and internet, his voice can be heard in a Tom Hamilton talking bobblehead doll, a giveaway item in 2008 which sold for $25.00 on e-bay in 2013.0