As a youngster in Brooklyn, N.Y., Al Michaels listened to Dodgers radio broadcasts and became enchanted with the voices of Red Barber, Connie Desmond and Vin Scully. When he attended games at nearby Ebbets Field with his father, he couldn't take his eyes off the crew in the broadcast booth.
Sometimes dreams come true. Michaels' did. He was working for the Cincinnati Reds by the time he was 26. He spent three years with the Reds and three years with the San Francisco Giants before going to work full time for ABC in 1977.
And on rare occasions, dreams are even exceeded. Michaels' was. He is now so prominent and so respected as a play-by-play announcer that it is almost a cliche to call him one of the best in the business. Four times he has been named national sportscaster of the year.
In 1958, as luck would have it, Michaels, then 14, and his family moved west to Los Angeles the same year the Dodgers did.
His love for baseball, and for the Dodgers, grew even stronger. His love for hockey never waned, either. He has been a longtime Kings season-ticket holder.
He played baseball at Hamilton High but always dreamed about becoming a major league announcer.
His first job in television was as an office boy on a game show. He made $95 a week with Chuck Barris Productions. Michaels chose the women to appear on "The Dating Game." Sounds like a great gig for a young man. But he had just gotten married, to his high school sweetheart, and his wife Linda also worked for Barris. She was the assistant prize coordinator for "The Newlywed Game."
By 2003, an energetic ABC researcher figured out that Michaels' 17-year run on "Monday Night Football" added up to 918 hours of prime-time television. The researcher factored in Michaels' other prime-time assignments, including baseball and the Olympics, and came up with another 805 hours.
That's a total of 1,723 prime-time hours, and that doesn't even include Michaels' four Super Bowls, since technically the Super Bowl starts 40 minutes before prime time kicks in.
No one — not Milton Berle, not Ed Sullivan, not Lucille Ball — was on prime-time television for as many hours.