By Bill Stewart
James Timothy McCarver was a professional baseball catcher, playing for four teams between 1959 and 1980. He spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. They beat the Boston Red Sox in the 1967 World Series, 4-3. Bob Gibson pitched and won three games for the St. Louis Cardinals, while Jim Lonborg went two and one for the Sox. McCarver went three for 24 and scored three runs for the Cards with a double and two RBIs. He had two walks and struck out twice. For the regular season, he batted 139 for 471, 14 homers, 69 RBIs and stole eight bases.
Tim McCarver was born on October 16, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee, and attended Christian Brothers High School, an all-boys private school, the oldest all-boys school in Memphis, where two-thirds of the students participate in athletics. Tim was selected and signed by the Cardinals in 1959 out of high school and was sent to Keokuk Indians in Iowa and then upped to the Rochester Red Wings in Rochester, New York. He was brought up by the Cards at 17 years old in 1959 near the end of the season, then sent to Memphis Chicks in 1960. In 1961 he was moved up to the Charleston Charlies – and the Atlanta Crackers in 1962. He had brief promotions to the Cards in 61 and 62, then he was brought to St. Louis in 1963 for a lifetime in major league baseball.
He was a two-time all-star and helped the Cardinals defeat the Yankees in the World Series of 1964. Tim batted .478 in the series and hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning to win the fifth game for the Cards. He was runner-up for the 1967 National League Most Valuable Player of the Year. He was a member of two World Series Champions in St. Louis and the National League Champions in 1968 that lost the World Series to Detroit.
McCarver was traded to the Phillies after the 1969 season and was later joined by a former Cardinal pitcher, Steve Carlton. During his time with the Cards, he was the only catcher accepted by the temperamental Bob Gibson. In 1972 he was traded to the Montreal Expos, where he became an outfielder because they already had a catcher and needed McCarver’s bat. He came back to the Cards after the 1972 season and was purchased by the Red Sox near the end of the 1974 season. He was released in June 1975. He signed with the Phillies within a week. During his stretch with the Phillies, he caught Rick Wise’s no-hitter on June 23, 1971. With the Expos he caught Bill Stoneman’s no-hitter on October 2, 1972.
He became a baseball color commentator for decades and won three Emmy awards for a Sports Event Analyst. He started at WPHL-TV in Philadelphia, working with Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas. He covered the Philadelphia team from 1980 to 1982, the Mets from 1983 to 1998, the Yankees from 1999 to 2001 and the San Francisco Giants in 2002. He was a play-by-play announcer for ABC for free-style skiing at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary and cohosted primetime coverage for the 1992 Winter Olympics. During his TV career, he called 24 World Series.
Tim McCarver died in Memphis in February 2023. Red Sox fans of the 60s will remember McCarver as a great player, catching for Bob Gibson defeating our Sox in the World Series of 1967.
(Editor’s Note: Bill Stewart, better known to Saugus Advocate readers as “The Old Sachem,” writes a weekly column about sports – and sometimes he opines on current or historical events or famous people.)