One of the legendary New York sportscasting icons, Bill Mazer, died today in Danbury, CT. at the age of 92.
The New York Times reported the news, calling Mazer the voice and face of sports coverage in New York for decades, pioneering sports-talk radio and becoming a television fixture while earning the nickname the Amazin’ for his encyclopedic recall of sports facts and figures.
His son, the actor Arnie Mazer, confirmed the death, at Danbury Hospital. The elder Mr. Mazer had lived in Scarsdale, N.Y., until moving to an assisted-living facility in Danbury two years ago.
When Mr. Mazer retired in 2009, he had spent more than 60 years in broadcasting — 20 of them as a nightly sports anchor and the host of the weekend roundup “Sports Extra” on WNEW-TV, Channel 5. Before then he had been a host of sports-talk radio when the very idea of the format was new.
Mr. Mazer had been covering sports at radio and TV stations in Buffalo for 16 years when he was hired by WNBC-AM in March 1964. It was unveiling an innovative talk format.
The station invited listeners to pick up their phones and “talk sports with Bill Mazer from 4:30-6 p.m.”
After several years at WNBC, Mr. Mazer had a general interview program on WOR-AM and provided color commentary for the CBS television network’s hockey game of the week. He also did commentary for the Knicks, the Nets, the Rangers and the Islanders before moving to WNEW-TV in 1971 and anchoring its nightly sports coverage.
It was the news anchor, John Roland, who proclaimed Mr. Mazer the Amazin’ after Mr. Roland started tossing him arcane sports questions during the broadcasts, the answers to which he almost invariably knew.
Mr. Mazer was also the host of lunchtime interview programs from Mickey Mantle’s restaurant on Central Park South for WFAN for several years after it made its debut as an all-sports station in 1987.
I’m gonna miss Mazer, who I grew up listening to as a kid.