Clem McCarthy's gravel voice and rolling r's were the background music of sports' golden age.
McCarthy, who had no close relatives, died broke, his considerable earnings dissipated and his hospital bills paid by the Clem McCarthy fund, established by friends.
The son of an Irish horse dealer and horse auctioneer, he broadcast every Kentucky Derby from 1928 to 1951, and many of the great prizefights of the 1930s. His was the voice ringside at the hate-drenched second Joe Louis-Max Schmeling fight that intoned: "Schmeling is down, Schmeling is down."
He made an American generation horse race-conscious. He talked on the air to the horses and the jockey at the post ("Easy there, Nellie," "Watch him, Georgie Wolfe, watch him!") and he talked to them all the way around.
McCarthy did it all alone. He had no spotters, no "color men," no broadcasting "team."