Jim Britt (broadcaster)

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Jim Britt

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Jim Britt was a broadcaster for both the Boston Braves and the Boston Red Sox in the 1940s. He was also the host of "Jim Britt's Sports Roundup", the most-listened to program on Boston radio in those days.

From a well-to-do family, he moved from his native California to Detroit, MI when he was 11 and studied English and philosophy at the University of Detroit. He then went back west to earn his law degree but never took the bar exam, instead returning to Detroit to teach public speaking and debating in high schools. He got into broadcasting on a dare, when the coach of his alma mater's football team asked him to see if he was better than the school's current announcer, who was terrible (according to the coach, at least). Britt did a good job and took a liking to the work, and was soon broadcasting football and basketball games of the University of Notre Dame. His first baseball job was with the International League's Buffalo Bisons, where he broadcast local games live and road games through recreation, partnering with Leo Egan. Egan soon moved to Boston, MA, where he wrote for the Boston Herald and worked in broadcasting and soon persuaded his old colleague to apply for a job opening with WNAC.

Thus, Britt moved to Beantown in 1939, where he took over as the voice of New England baseball for Frankie Frisch, whose broadcasting career was unsuccessful and cut short to return to the dugout as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. His first season as broadcaster of the home games of both the Braves and Red Sox was in 1940, working with Tom Hussey. They worked together until the 1942 All-Star Game when Britt was inducted into the United States Navy at the time of World War II. He served as an intelligence officer in the Pacific theater for the next 3 1/2 years. Upon his discharge, he returned to a radio job, still broadcasting both Boston teams' home games, this time for WHDH. Listeners were glad to have him back, as those who had replaced him in the interval had not been up to par. Britt was bright, articulate and a thorough professional, which sometimes made him prickly.

On June 15, 1948, he was behind the microphone for the first baseball telecast in Boston history, with the Braves playing the Chicago Cubs, for WBZ-TV, which had only gone on the air a week before! Egan and former pitcher Bump Hadley would later join him on some broadcasts, although Britt's main partner remained Hussey. In 1951, the Boston Red Sox decided that they would begin broadcasting road games as well as home dates, meaning that a single man could no longer handle both local teams. having to chose between the Sox and the Braves, Britt went with the Braves. Thus the Red Sox hired a young Curt Gowdy to team up with Hussey. Unfortunately for Britt, the Braves left town to become the Milwaukee Braves in 1953, leaving him out of a job.

In later years, Britt worked on television broadcasts of the Cleveland Indians with Ken Coleman, then returned to Boston to work as a news anchor and a bowling commentator. He began to have problems with alcoholism and was eventually fired as a result. He had long periods of unemployment and drifted around the country, eventually finding himself in Monterey, CA where he was found dead in his apartment in 1980

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