‘Producer-engineer’ Kevin Cremin closing Mariners’ career after making a name for himself

Cremin, who became synonymous with the Mariners on the radio, is signing off for the last time. His final broadcast, after 35 years and more than 5,500 games, will be Sunday at Anaheim. “I’m going to miss the joy Kevin brings to the job every day,” broadcaster Rick Rizzs said.

In the mid-90s, before cellphones became standard equipment, Kevin Cremin’s sister was trying to get his phone number the old-fashioned way — through directory assistance.

“First name Kevin, last name Cremin,’’ she dutifully told the Seattle-based operator, to whom those words resonated from thousands of repetitions on the Mariners’ radio broadcasts.

“You mean ‘producer-engineer’ Kevin Cremin?’’ she asked.

The very same. And now Cremin, who became synonymous with the Mariners on the radio, is signing off for the last time. His final broadcast, after 35 years and more than 5,500 games at the helm, will be Sunday in Anaheim, California. At age 65, having witnessed for more than three decades all the ups and downs and twists and turns of the franchise from the vantage point of a small radio booth, retirement beckons.

“The equipment’s getting heavier,” he quipped.

The radio broadcasts will go on, of course, but it won’t be quite the same without Cremin. A radio neophyte when he was hired in 1983 at the behest of Dave Niehaus — more on that in a bit — Cremin didn’t take long to master the “engineer” half of his title. But it was as producer that he truly made his mark, guiding the daily broadcasts with wit, knowledge and passion.

“He knows what a baseball broadcast should sound like and feel like, and how the broadcaster should bring that to life,” said Rick Rizzs, who started his Mariners career on the same day as Cremin in spring training of 1983.

In 1982, Cremin was 29 and unemployed in his native Tulsa, Oklahoma, having recently ended a gig in the circulation department of the Tulsa World and Tribune newspaper. A friend in the radio business, Grayle Howlett, asked if he would be interested in making the four-hour drive from Tulsa to Kansas City to help the Mariners broadcasters during a series against the Royals. He would monitor…

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