Physioc reflects on his 47-year career

November 21st, 2022

This story was excerpted from Anne Rogers' Royals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are saying goodbye to a longtime broadcaster following last week’s announcement that Steve Physioc has retired after a 47-year broadcasting career, the last 11 of which have come for his hometown team in Kansas City.

In his place will be Jake Eisenberg, a 27-year-old rising voice in the industry who has spent the last two seasons calling Triple-A Omaha games as well as some Mets games last year.

Physioc will turn 68 next month and decided this summer to end a long career that began when he was a student at Kansas State. It spanned nearly five decades and several stops -- Cincinnati, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Kansas City -- and sports, from MLB to college football and baseball.

“I found myself missing my wife more and more,” Physioc said. “And my daughter is fantastic, because she’ll send me videos of my grandchildren all the time. And every time, I go, ‘That’s where I want to be.’ So I’m really excited about this next adventure.”

Beyond spending more time with his family, Physioc’s next adventure is writing. He’s published four novels and is working on his fifth, a historical fiction piece based in Italy during World War II. He and his wife, Stace, travel extensively, so that will take up much of their time now, too.

That doesn’t mean Physioc won’t miss baseball or the people around it, especially those in the booth with him. That includes Physioc’s longest-tenured broadcast partner, Rex Hudler.

“In 47 years, I’ve had over 150 different analysts that I’ve worked with, but one guy stands out, and that’s Hud,” Physioc said. “He’s not only been a great partner, but also a great friend. He’s wonderful to work with, and what you see is the real Hud. I’ve known him for almost three decades, and he’s never changed. He’s like an Energizer bunny, always on the go. But also, when his batteries go, he goes. I’ll be talking with him, let’s say we’re driving home from the airport, and I’ll look over, and he’s snoring. Was I that boring?”

Physioc’s favorite memories of his career include the championships he was a part of in 2002 with the Angels and ’15 with the Royals. He was there for Pete Rose’s 4,192nd hit to make him the all-time hits leader in baseball. It meant even more because it also allowed Physioc to go on his honeymoon.

“Stace and I got married on Sept. 7, and Pete Rose got the hit on Sept. 11, 1985,” Physioc said. "The television station would not let us go on our honeymoon until Pete got the hit.

“There are those moments where I would leave the ballpark, and my hands would be shaking because I knew I was part of watching a great game. There were so many moments where you just said, ‘I’m so glad I was part of this event today.’”

Physioc said the greatest season he’s ever seen was 2015, when the Royals won the World Series. After losing the 2014 World Series to the Giants, the Royals had a certain edge Physioc hadn’t seen before, and he doesn’t know if they would have won without it.

“I picked up a magazine when I was flying to Spring Training that year and saw some predictions say that the Royals would win the division, one that said they would lose the division, and one that said they would finish third,” Physioc said. “My first thought was, ‘Good. This team is going to have an edge.’ And when I got to the clubhouse the next day, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas had read the same magazine. They were mad. I think that team had a chip on their shoulder the entire season, and they weren’t going to let anyone stop them.”

Physioc will miss all that surrounds baseball and sports broadcasting, but he’s looking forward to everything that’s to come, both for him and for Royals baseball.

“I’m just so grateful as I look back on my life,” Physioc said. “Forty-seven years in the business, I’m just grateful for everyone that gave me an opportunity. Certainly, I’m grateful to be able to come home and finish my career in the town I love, for the team I love.”