BALTIMORE -- It was the end of an era on Sunday afternoon, as longtime Orioles radio broadcaster Fred Manfra called his last game at Camden Yards, capping a 50-year broadcasting career that included the past two-and-a-half decades with his hometown team."You think back and when you look at this ballpark,
BALTIMORE -- It was the end of an era on Sunday afternoon, as longtime Orioles radio broadcaster Fred Manfra called his last game at Camden Yards, capping a 50-year broadcasting career that included the past two-and-a-half decades with his hometown team.
"You think back and when you look at this ballpark, coming to this office for 25 years, I don't know of any better view that anyone would have than Oriole Park at Camden Yards," said Manfra, an East Baltimore native and Patterson High School graduate who joined the Orioles radio broadcasts in 1993.
"I'm sure it will be a bittersweet experience. Bitter [to swallow] in the way that I've been blessed to do my hometown team for 25 years, sweet in knowing that when I make my new life it will be with our grandkids down in Tampa … we are looking forward to that."
Manfra leaves behind a legacy, one that includes NBA All-Star Games, the Olympics, NHL Stanley Cup Finals, Triple Crown Races and MLB All-Star Games, including the one at Camden Yards his first year in '93. He was in the booth with former President Bill Clinton and Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller during Cal Ripken Jr.'s streak-breaking game, and still cherishes being on the field when the O's clinched the American League East in 2014
"He's been a best friend in the booth, he's been my best friend," said Manfra's counterpart, Joe Angel. "And to go to the ballpark every day with the same guy, knowing how he's going to react, pretty much being able to predict what he might say in a certain situation and how he might react to something I might say, there's a certain comfort factor in that.
"I think it's important and it comes across on the air, which is why people have received it so well. I'm going to miss him. He's my best friend."
Added Orioles manager Buck Showalter: "One, if they're around that long, they got to be really good at what they do. Fred's a Baltimore native. A lot of people have grown up listening to Fred. I know how serious he takes it. Makes sure he's prepared. I know my mom, a lot of people will watch the game and listen on the radio.
"I've seen on some of the road trips, some of the [health] issues he's had. Never complained. Getting up the steps on that bus. Going back and forth off that plane. He worked through it. He played hurt. Posted up. Always upbeat. Loves the Orioles and always walked that fine line between being a homer and reporting what was wrong."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.