POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 10, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 10:20 a.m. HST, Apr 21, 2011
The Major League Baseball season is just under way, and the Houston Astros and 29 other teams have begun their chase for the World Series. It is also a time when former KHVH radio and KITV sports anchor Greg Lucas gears up for another season of baseball.
Lucas has announced 25 different sports over the years, covering nearly 3,000 events. This month we look back at his time in the islands when his broadcasting career was beginning to flourish.
Lucas hails from Kokomo, Ind., where he played basketball and baseball in high school. While attending Butler University in Indianapolis, he majored in radio-television and broadcast Butler sports on WAJC radio for three seasons. After graduating in 1969, Lucas served in the Army in South Korea for two years. During his duty in Seoul, Lucas served as sports director for AFKN TV and radio and met his future wife, Yong Ae.
After the Army, Lucas got a job in his native state of Indiana in Terre Haute as a news and sports announcer for WAAC radio. He sent out résumés to various TV and radio stations and received a letter from KHVH radio's Dick Cook offering him a job in Honolulu sight unseen.
Lucas arrived in the islands in 1972, working for KHVH as part of the station's Information Central news team. "For three years I did alternating news blocks on KHVH radio plus the sports," he said. His KHVH colleagues included Ed Michelman, Art Shotwell, Gayle Fujinaka, Irv Beach and Jacque Scott.
Lucas loved the islands and hoped to get a broadcasting job with the Hawaii Islanders of the Pacific Coast League. "I must have attended nearly every game at Honolulu Stadium during the three years I was there, always hoping to somehow get into the booth as a broadcaster. If I had gotten that job and the Islanders were still around, I would have never left Honolulu, I am sure," he said.
In 1974 he went to work at KITV as sports anchor, alternating newscasts with Jim Leahey. He also worked with Don Rockwell, Warren Moran, Tom McWilliams and Terry Zahn. Lucas also filled in for Les Keiter a few times on Hawaii Islander broadcasts. "I used to love to chat with Les Keiter about his earlier days in the business," he said.
Lucas also handled play-by-play duties for the Hawaii Leis professional tennis team with Rock Rothrock.
In 1975, KITV management chose to change its news format, and Lucas and several others were let go. He moved to the mainland, where his assignments included doing radio play-by-play for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs and TV for the Houston Rockets. While broadcasting Texas Rangers baseball from 1989 to 1994, Lucas got to know team part-owner and future President George W. Bush.
"He (Bush) visited in the booth often, and one time he and I worked full three innings together. I still have the tape. He does, too," Lucas said.
While with the Rangers, Lucas called one of the biggest sports bloopers of the last 20 years, except it wasn't his blooper. "My most famous call happened in Cleveland when Jose Canseco let a fly ball hit him in the head and bounce off the fence for a home run. That was my call that is heard on so many ‘blooper' shows,'" he said.
In 1994 Lucas was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, the same year he would call the most memorable game of his career when Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game against the Angels.
Today, Lucas works on the Houston Astros telecast team as a senior announcer and reporter for Fox Sports Houston. Lucas keeps himself busy throughout the year, also calling both Big 12 college baseball and basketball games.
He's been back to the islands only once since leaving, when his son was married on Maui, but Lucas said he'll be back late next year to celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary.
A.J. McWhorter, a collector of film and videotape cataloging Hawaii's TV history, has worked as a producer, writer and researcher for both local and national media. Email him at <@Tagline -- email1>flashback@hawaii. rr.com<x@$p><B>.