Joe Tait

Induction Year: 2005 Sport: Media

He left the comparative tranquility of rural Illinois in 1970 to accept an offer to come to Cleveland and become the radio play-by-play voice of Cleveland Cavaliers. It turned out to be one of the best deals the Cavs have ever made. Certainly none of their transactions have had a longer lasting impact on the community. Beginning his broadcasting career in 1956 as an undergraduate at Monmouth College by airing the games of his beloved future alma mater, he happily stuck with it for 14 seasons before the Cavs uncovered him. Now, when the Cavs’ 2005-06 season opens he will be starting his 51st year in broadcasting, his 34th season with the Cavs and his 36th of doing NBA basketball (he left to broadcast the New Jersey Nets’ games in 1981-82 and those of the Chicago Bulls in 1982-83). Even in his two seasons away from the Cavs, his familiar baritone continued to boom across the Cleveland airwaves calling the games of the Cleveland Indians on radio and/or TV, assignments be handled from the 1972 to the 1988 seasons. In 1988, Cavaliers management, deciding perhaps the man might have some promise, tightened their grip on him by naming him their broadcast vice president. Now the unchallenged dean of Cleveland sportscasters, he has, entering the 2005-06 season, broadcast 2,747 Cavaliers games as well as all 188 games of the organization’s currently defunct women’s counterpart, the Cleveland Rockers, plus well over 2000 Indians contests. In addition, he has been the TV voice of Mt. Union College football for 17 years. During these years he has been chosen the Ohio Sportscaster of the Year eight times, and will be entering his sixth Hall of Fame with his induction into the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame. But who’s counting?