Today marks a monumental occasion for one of NBC Sports Chicago’s very own. Upon donning the headset during tonight’s telecast, veteran color analyst Steve Stone will have broadcasted Major League games for 40 years.
For those of you who may not know, Steve Stone made his debut for the San Francisco Giants back in 1971. In addition to his time in San Francisco, he also played for the Cubs, Sox, and Baltimore Orioles. In 1980, Stoney took home the Cy Young Award. In that season, he finished with 25 wins and a 3.23 ERA while recording 149 strikeouts. Since his playing days, he has joined some notable names in the broadcast booth: Harry Carry, Harry’s son Chip Carry, Hawk Harrelson, and Jason Benetti. Stone has been the soundtrack for Sox fans for 13 years. So this is hats off to you Stoney, and I hope you know how much we appreciate you and how many of our lives you’ve impacted!
My Personal Memories
For those who are not familiar, my name is Nico Andrade, and I am 18 years old. I grew up listing to Hawk and Stoney, as they were the soundtrack to my young White Sox fandom. Hearing the duo talk about baseball was a gold mine, from the plethora of stories between the two broadcasters to the energy they brought to the booth day in and day out. Even if the team on the field was not performing to their capabilities, you could never tell because both Stoney and Hawk were fans like myself, and I truly loved that about them.
When it came time for Hawk to retire, I was obviously a little sad to say goodbye to the voice of my childhood. However, Jason Benetti eased the transition seamlessly and his color analyst didn’t miss a beat. Ever since, Jason and Steve have developed a repertoire that has made them, arguably, one of the best duos in not only Major League Baseball, but all of sports. There are so many unique characteristics to a broadcast on any given day. Whether it’s Stoney being able to see the future at times, his harmonious rendition of the Nationwide jingle, or just back-and-forth banter with Benetti, it’s evident that both broadcasters just love every second of what they do.
A personal favorite moment of mine came during Lucas Giolito’s no-hitter back on August 25, 2020, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Life was shut down amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and all that most of us had was White Sox baseball on any given night – that was special to me. I fondly remember when Gio was down to out number 27 with Erik Gonzalez stepping up to the plate, Stoney said, “Why don’t you take this one partner,” and Jason responded, “Like James and Lucas are a team, so are we.” Listening to that live was chilling in the way that brief moment showed the dynamic relationship between the two partners, especially in a time when the world was in a giant question mark. I will never forget that.
To fully understand the scope of his impact on the fanbase, I asked fellow Sox On 35th contributors, media personalities, and fans what Stoney has meant to them. Here are their responses!
Joe Binder (Founder and Owner, Sox On 35th): “Even after putting my bias aside, it’s still hard for me not to label Steve Stone as one of the best color analysts in baseball. He’s provided us with a steady calming presence for as long as I remember, and has played a key role in the dynamic White Sox broadcasts we’ve all had the pleasure of watching. For me personally, one of Stoney’s most impressive characteristics continues to be his attention to detail when describing certain aspects of the game. Whether you’re a first-time viewer or a lifelong fan, he manages to break down the action in such a unique way that anyone watching at home can understand. This isn’t even to mention the humor and charisma he’s brought alongside each of his broadcast partners, from Hawk Harrelson as I grew up to Jason Benetti now. I’ll always look forward to turning on a Sox game, and Stoney remains one of the big reasons why. Congrats on 40 years in the booth, and thank you for all of the memories, Steve! Here’s to even better ones in the future.”
Jordan Lazowski (Editor-in-Chief, Sox On 35th): “For many young White Sox fans – myself included – Steve Stone was the first color analyst that we have memories of truly listening to and learning from on TV. He is a consistent voice of reason that’s probably forgotten more about baseball than I’ve ever known. I find myself thinking about the game differently because of things he’s said on broadcasts, and things I’ve written about in the past that have been inspired by topics Stone and Benetti have discussed. White Sox fans have truly been blessed with their broadcast teams over the past few decades, and it’s been incredible to see the role Stone has played in that. Congratulations and best wishes to Steve Stone; thanks for all the moments you’ve given to Sox fans, and here’s to the ones to come.”
Tim Moran (Senior Analyst, Sox On 35th): “Being 22 years old, I didn’t know much about Steve Stone until he started color commentary on White Sox games. But he’s been a joy to listen to for all these years, and I’ve learned much about pitching-and a bit about reading the future-from him!”
Dave Sims (Seattle Mariners’ Play-by-Play Broadcaster): “Stoney’s a great guy. Since I joined the MLB broadcasting family in 2007, it’s always been time well spent catching up with Steve when we play the White Sox.”
Ed Siebert (Co-Host, Sox In The Basement): “Growing up in a divided household… Cubs fans mixed with Sox fans… I was subjected to a lot of Cubs baseball. Specifically, my grandfather would do what can best be described as ‘Hate Watching’ the Cubbies with me. And he was very much a Cubs fan. If there were two things my grandfather hated, it was 85% of the Cubs roster at any given time and Harry Carry.
But yet, we watched. And amid Harry Carry trying to pronounce Hector Villanueva’s name backward and my grandfather yelling at whoever was pitching, there was Steve Stone. Talking about the game. Predicting pitches. Explaining why the batter should be looking for a certain pitch. Giving a kid who had to watch more than he played a chance to learn and understand his favorite game, even while his grandfather groused at the TV and laughed at how close to swearing Harry was when he said “Sosa spelled backward is Asos.”
When Stoney joined the Sox broadcasting teams it was my childhood blurring together in the best way. My favorite baseball voice talking about my favorite baseball team. Now, I’m the one yelling at the TV, but I’m still making a point of listening to whatever Steve Stone says about the game. I consider myself lucky to have had that voice attached to my baseball experience for 40 years.”
Herb Lawrence (Co-Host, CHGO White Sox): “Stoney is the best sports analyst that I ever watched. He tells you not just what is going to happen but why it happened. To be a Cy Young Award pitcher and that be a footnote in his career tells you how great of a broadcaster he is. Always very friendly to me and loved him when he joined Laurence Holmes to talk baseball, but he is so entertaining. Congratulations to Steve Stone.”
Jeff The Giant (White Sox Fan): “It was the first time I had met Steve and Jason. I try to go down to Seattle every year to watch the White Sox play. It’s the closest place to where I live in Canada. We had gotten to know each other via Twitter and it was a real treat to meet up with him and Jason in real life. I think that the knowledge he shares on the broadcasts, coupled with humor, makes watching a game more entertaining.”
Ryan Piontek (White Sox Fan): “Stone Pony, for me, will always hold a special place in my heart. The man that helped co narrate my childhood with the Hawk in what was the best play-by-play and color commentator combo there ever was, in my opinion. His expertise about the game as a whole, his predictive ways, and overall voice will forever resonate with me regardless if he is in the booth or not. I’ll always view Stoney as the bridge of eras of viewing White Sox baseball. The perfect guy to work alongside Hawk and be that constant all the way to the Benetti era and beyond. Thank you Stoney for all you have done and for what you will continue to do. Congrats on four decades in the booth and I promise not to take any of your future games for granted as you have been a blessing to each and every Sox fan throughout the globe. Thanks, Steve Stone, here’s to more success and memories.”
Cristina Andrade (White Sox Fan): “Steve Stone is a voice of calm, knowledge, expertise. You do not need to be a baseball savant to understand his knowledge of the game of baseball. 40 years of broadcasting is amazing and it is definitely something to be proud of.”
From all of us here at Sox On 35th, congratulations on 40 years in the booth, Stoney!
Featured Image: Jason Benetti / Twitter