SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Joe Garagiola played for four big league organizations in the 1940s and 50's, but the D-backs considered him as part of their family.Garagiola, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 90, came to the D-backs late in his career and broadcasted games from 1998-2012.• Baseball, broadcasting
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Joe Garagiola played for four big league organizations in the 1940s and 50's, but the D-backs considered him as part of their family.
Garagiola, who passed away Wednesday at the age of 90, came to the D-backs late in his career and broadcasted games from 1998-2012.
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"Joe was one-of-a-kind and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know him and his family," D-backs managing general partner Ken Kendrick said. "His sense of humor certainly stood out to all of us, but perhaps more importantly, the mark he left in the community around him will carry on his legacy for generations to come."
A moment of silence for Garagiola was observed prior to Wednesday's game against the Giants at Salt River Fields.
"Joe was family, not only for myself, but for the entire organization," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said. "He had a history with so many other teams, yet he really considered us as equal to even the Cardinals, which was his original home for so many years. It's a big loss for us today. We lost a big part of our personality and character, but we have fond memories that we're always going to cherish from one of the most loved men in the history of our game."
Garagiola's son, Joe, was hired as general manager of the D-backs in 1995 just after the franchise was awarded.
Garagiola Sr. would often stop in the D-backs' clubhouse before games and share stories with players.
"Obviously, I knew him from being around the Diamondbacks," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "He was an icon [for me] as a kid growing up on TV; whether it was baseball or daily TV, he was just always on. And then to get to meet him and get to know him here with the Diamondbacks was phenomenal. There was a little bit of a heavy heart today. I found out right before the game. Just too bad. There are a lot of good people we're losing, and he was one of the greats."
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In 2009, the D-backs named their broadcast wing and television booth at Chase Field after Garagiola.
"I told my wife I wasn't going to cry, but I can't help it," Garagiola said that day when he saw the massive mural of his career along the hallway. "It's so special. What it does is it brings back memories. I've have a tremendous run. I've been blessed. It's been quite a ride. I never expected this. No way."
When Joe Garagiola Jr. left the D-backs in 2005 to take a high-ranking position with Major League Baseball he threw out the first pitch prior to his final game. Catching the pitch was Joe Garagiola Sr. and the pair walked off the field together.
In addition to Joe Jr., Garagiola is survived by his wife Audrie, eight grandchildren and children Steve and Gina.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of this amazing man who was not just beloved by those of us in his family, but to generations of baseball fans who he impacted during his eight decades in the game," the family said in a statement. "Joe loved the game and passed that love onto family, his friends, his teammates, his listeners and everyone he came across as a player and broadcaster. His impact on the game, both on and off the field, will forever be felt."
The D-backs are looking into honoring Garagiola this season with a uniform patch of some sort.
"He's meant a lot to this organization," Hall said. "He's a big part of our history already. We knew he was struggling health-wise the last couple of weeks, and we feared this day would come. We didn't think it would come this quick, but he had a wonderful life. He brightened us up each and every time he was around us. I will miss him deeply."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.