America knew the voice of Walter "Red" Barber well. Barber was baseball's pioneer voice.
He began his career as the voice of the Cincinnati Reds (1934-1938). His first game broadcasting was also the first game he'd ever seen live. Barber was the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1939 through 1954. While in Brooklyn, Barber broadcasted the first major league game on television in 1939, the Dodgers versus the Cincinnati Reds at Ebbets Field. In 1946, Barber was named the director of CBS Sports. Barber's 12-year stint with the New York Yankees was to be his last. Barber retired from play-by-play action in 1966, and turned to professional writing. He released four books: "When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball," "The Broadcasters," "Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat," and "Show Me the Way to Go Home." He returned to radio in 1980, to become a sports commentator. During his 38-year career, Barber announced thirteen World Series Championships, four All-Star baseball games, eight Orange Bowls, two Rose Bowls, one Sugar Bowl, and four National Football League Championships. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.
Barber received numerous awards and honors for his work. These included the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence; the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Florida; the Gold Award by the Florida Association of Broadcasters; and the Peabody Award for radio commentary in 1991. Barber was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978 as one of the first broadcasters inducted, and the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
The world lost a broadcasting legend when Barber passed away on October 22, 1992, in Tallahassee, Florida.
Barber joined Seminole Chapter in Sanford, Florida in 1925. Barber was a member of the first class to be inducted into the DeMolay Hall of Fame on November 13, 1985.
"DeMolay meant a great deal to me in my late adolescent years in Sanford, Florida. My high school principal, G.E. McKay, guided us in our DeMolay work. Those influences taught me about character, about holding your faith, about truth, and keeping your word. I shall always be grateful to Professor McKay and to DeMolay. I was blessed to have such guidance at such a period in my life. I pray such good influences may come to more and more teenagers today in these troublesome times."