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Frank Messer, 76; Broadcast Yankee, White Sox Games

November 16, 2001|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Frank Messer, 76, who broadcast New York Yankee games for 16 seasons, died Tuesday after a long illness at his home in Deerfield Beach, Fla. A native of Asheville, N.C., Messer served in the Marines in the South Pacific during World War II. He broadcast minor league baseball after leaving the service, his longest tenure being 10 years with the Richmond Virginians of the International League. He broke into major league baseball with the Orioles in 1964, and stayed in Baltimore until he joined the Yankees in 1968.

Messer brought his clear and simple announcing style to the Yankee booth, replacing Joe Garagiola and joining Phil Rizzuto and Jerry Coleman.

Rizzuto and Messer were joined by Bill White in 1971, and they were broadcast partners until Messer's last season in 1985. He broadcast games for the Chicago White Sox in 1986 and 1987 after leaving the Yankees.

Messer was in the booth for Yankee championships in 1977 and 1978, and helped fans get through the death of catcher Thurman Munson in a plane crash in August 1979. Messer was master of ceremonies for Yankee old-timer games until 2000.

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