NEW YORK -- Behind the scenes, there is one person responsible for making sure you hear broadcast legend Howie Rose loud and clear. His name is Chris Majkowski, and he is now in his 31st season as the producer/engineer for the Mets’ flagship radio station on WCBS 880 AM.
Majkowski currently has a game streak that would make Cal Ripken Jr. blush -- entering Friday’s contest between the Mets and Mariners, Majkowski has engineered 4,763 consecutive games for Mets radio dating back to Aug. 8, 1993. As he sees it, he is living the dream and missing a day of work is not an option.
The last time he missed work was a doubleheader between the Pirates and Mets on Aug. 7, 1993. No, Majkowski wasn’t injured or sick. He missed the two games to attend his sister’s wedding. For his amazing streak, he is known as “the immortal Chris Majkowski,” a name given to him by Mets TV broadcaster Gary Cohen, who used to call games on the radio.
So here’s the big question: How has Majkowski managed to keep his streak alive after all these years?
“I’m knocking on wood. I haven’t had any illnesses or any types of freak accidents, thank goodness,” Majkowski said via telephone. “I wrenched my knee pretty badly a few years back, but I hobbled around, kept parking myself in the back of the booth. I don’t know if you want to chalk it up to dumb luck. I’m just showing up every day and they don’t tell me to go home.”
Majkowski does more than work on the technical board. He comes up with the trivia questions and makes sure that the out-of-town scoreboard and game notes are accurate for the broadcasters. According to Rose, Majkowski is more than just an extra set of eyes and ears when the game is on the air.
“He is a technician when it comes to the quality of a broadcast,” Rose said. “Because he is a big baseball fan, he knows the game inside out. When I say he is an extra set of eyes and ears, it comes in handy. If there is a complicated play and a lot of moving parts, he might see something that we don’t. I think the most important part is, we mesh so well, personally.”
While growing up on Long Island, Majkowski was a die-hard Mets fan dating back to 1973, the same year the team won the pennant and lost to the Athletics in the World Series. Majkowski can easily recall the heroics of Rusty Staub, Tom Seaver and Tug McGraw.
Since joining the Mets in 1992, Majkowski has many favorite highlights, including Robin Ventura’s grand slam single in Game 5 of the 1999 National League Championship Series. The following year, he enjoyed working the Subway World Series between the Mets and Yankees.
“Those were definitely the highlights as far as my Mets tenure. They are right up there at the top of the list,” Majkowski said. “Working with Bob Murphy, Gary Cohen, Howie and Tom McCarthy -- everyone who has come through that booth has been great.”
Engineering baseball games on the radio isn’t the only thing Majkowski has mastered. He is an all-purpose radio engineer, working all the games for St. John’s University basketball and the New York Giants. He also has time to work home games for other New York teams like the Knicks and Rangers. Majkowski also does some public address announcing for football and basketball games at Fordham University, his alma mater.
“One season ends and the next one begins,” Majkowski said. “Obviously, there are so many conflicts and I figure it out and juggle it all around. Somehow, it seems to all work out.”
Because he loves his job, Majkowski doesn’t consider what he does for the Mets as work.
“So what am I doing? I’m going to a game. I’m turning on a couple of microphones and I’m watching the game. Obviously, it’s a lot more to it than that. It’s a job, but it's not a job,” he said.