Tom Cheek, who called every game in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays until last year, died Sunday after a battle with brain cancer. He was 66.
Cheek, who died at his home in Oldsmar, Fla., was best known for his streak, which ended at 27 1/2 seasons on June 3, 2004, because of his father’s death.
He called 4,306 consecutive regular season games, plus 41 more in the postseason, since the Blue Jays began playing in 1977.
“It’s difficult to put into words the overwhelming sense of grief and loss shared today by the Blue Jays family, the city of Toronto, the extended community of Major League Baseball and its many fans,” Blue Jay president Paul Godfrey said.
“He was a great goodwill ambassador for baseball in Canada,” Godfrey added.
Shortly after his father’s death, Cheek was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
He had partially successful surgery to remove it June 13, 2004, his 65th birthday.
He underwent chemotherapy afterward and returned to call some games, while fighting short-term memory loss.
Cheek was named late last year as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award, recognizing baseball broadcasting excellence and carrying with it induction into the Hall of Fame.
His knack for capturing the moment was best demonstrated by his call on Joe Carter’s 1993 World Series-winning home run: “Touch ‘em all, Joe. You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.”
Cheek, who was born June 13, 1939, in Pensacola, Fla., is survived by his wife, Shirley, their three children and seven grandchildren.