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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Mel Allen, legendary Yankees voice, dies at 83
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

June 16, 1996

Mel Allen, the passionate Alabaman who became the voice of the Yankees, dies at age 83 at his home in Greenwich, Conn. Allen, who had open heart surgery seven years ago, had been ill for the past year.

Educated as a lawyer, Allen became a broadcaster. He did it all, from the World Series (20 times) to college football and boxing. He was best known for his work with the Yankees. Early in the 1939 season, he was hired to call Yankees' and Giants' home games on radio and did both teams through 1942. After serving three years in the U.S. Army during World War II, he signed an exclusive deal with the Yankees in 1946, later adding television to his radio duties.

His trademark phrases were "How about that!" and "Ballantine Blast," the latter combining the team's beer sponsor with a home run. He stayed with the Yankees until he was fired after the 1964 season. Team owner George Steinbrenner brought him back in 1978 to call 40 Yankees games on cable each year until 1985. From 1977 almost to his death, Allen was the voice of the syndicated program, "This Week in Baseball."

"Mel Allen meant as much to Yankee tradition as legends like Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle," Steinbrenner said. "He was the voice of the Yankees."

Allen and Red Barber were the first inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame's broadcasting pantheon -- How about that!

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