Castiglione honored to join Red Sox HOF

BOSTON -- All three who wore uniforms -- Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra and Roger Clemens -- inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame on Thursday made it a point to mention their fellow inductee, broadcaster Joe Castiglione.

Castiglione is in his 32nd season as the radio play-by-play voice of the Red Sox, and he has the respect of each player. During the media portion of Thursday's ceremony, Castiglione sat at a table surrounded by the local media and joked: "I'm much more comfortable where you guys are."

It was obvious, however, how humbled he is by this honor.

"It's really overwhelming," he said. "I never expected anything like this, and to be on the same program with three of the all-time greats is just astounding to me. I've been blessed I got to cover their entire careers with the Red Sox -- Nomar, Pedro, Roger. It's just hard to imagine a broadcaster being in a better spot with the good fortune we've had."

Between the regular season, postseason and spring training games, Castiglione believes he's called between 5,300 and 5,800 games during his career.

The most memorable one is easy.

That game was on Oct. 27, 2004, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, when the Red Sox clinched the World Series with a sweep of the Cardinals.

On Thursday, he replayed his Series-winning call: "Swing and a ground ball, stabbed by Foulke. He underhands to first, and for the first time in 86 years ... Can you believe it?"

Since the Red Sox had a 3-0 lead in the World Series, Castiglione admitted he started to think about what he would say once the final out was made and the Red Sox were champions. He came to the realization, however, that he didn't know how it would end, but he had hoped the play would be definitive in order to make a historic call.

"It wasn't my moment," he said. "It was Red Sox Nation's moment. I think I tried to keep it as simple as possible and 'Can you believe it?' was just an emotional reaction that I think so many of us had after being down three games to none with the Yankees."

Castiglione admitted that Garciaparra was his favorite player to watch during his career and said it's a toss-up between Martinez and Clemens for best pitcher.

"I was so blessed, because my first 22 years doing Red Sox baseball, I had either Roger Clemens or Pedro Martinez every fifth day," he said.

A Hamden, Connecticut, native, Castiglione began his professional broadcast career with the Cleveland Indians in 1979 and 1982. He also worked for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1981. He's been an active member for the Jimmy Fund since 1990.

For all the baseball games he's called, coming to the ballpark never gets old for Castiglione.

"I always like to say, 'You never know what you're going to see at the ballpark today.' When your team is 15, 20 games out of first place, what gets you going? Well, you might see something you never saw before. That's the excitement and the anticipation you have each game."