PDA

View Full Version : Bill Mercer Interview


Lip Man 1
09-13-2009, 08:24 PM
During the 1970’s the White Sox broadcasting situation was at best chaotic. There were numerous announcers, different TV and radio stations and a lot of intrigue in the booth.

Harry Caray lorded over all which as it turned out maybe wasn’t the best situation.

Bill Mercer was there for all the “fun.” Mercer, the original announcer for the Texas Rangers and a long time announcer for the Dallas Cowboys, came to the White Sox in 1974 and found himself smack in the middle of a major feud between Caray and color man and former Sox player, J.C. Martin.

In the latest interview at White Sox Interactive, Bill talks about how he came to the White Sox, his thoughts on working with Caray and Martin, how Caray verbally skewered Sox pitchers like Stan Bahnsen and Jim Kaat, and why he was basically forced to leave, even though he didn’t want to go. Bill also talked about the sports radio business itself, which often leaves the veteran of over fifty years in the booth shaking his head. (Bill still does some minor league baseball for two teams in Texas today!)

Here’s the link to the interview:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3890

And be sure to listen to the audio clip at the end of the interview. It was Bill’s first game in the White Sox announcer’s booth and it sure was eventful. Opening Day, the Angels and Nolan Ryan are at Comiskey Park and it was freezing cold. Now throw in a streaker or two and a shapely female parading around the stands and you’ve got the ingredients for some major league irreverence on the part of Harry Caray and Bill Mercer!

I hope you enjoy it!

Lip

jamokes
09-13-2009, 09:21 PM
Those were great years Lip!!

Brian26
09-13-2009, 09:26 PM
Great interview, Mark.

Bill Mercer has always been a class act.

TDog
09-13-2009, 09:27 PM
I honestly don't remember Harry Caray being suspended. I'm sure it wasn't presented on the air as a suspension, but I must have missed the games he missed on WMAQ.

I wonder how things would have changed if Harry Caray had left the Sox after the end of his initial contract. The Cubs weren't in the market for an announcer at the time. He may have never ended up with a Wrigley Field statue.

Noneck
09-14-2009, 12:14 AM
Lip,

Didn't you mention in a previous post that Mercer was a icon in pro wrestling?

Jerko
09-14-2009, 09:02 AM
Lip,

Didn't you mention in a previous post that Mercer was a icon in pro wrestling?

Mercer was an announcer on WCCW years ago. Based out of Texas and was an "offshoot" of the NWA. Best know probably for Von Erich/Freebird fued. God that had to be over 25 years ago.

tebman
09-14-2009, 09:17 AM
Great interview! Man, those were awful years. The only upside was that it was easy to get a good ticket to a game.

I especially liked his description of the old ballpark as a "wonderful dump." :D: What a great line!

I appreciated his summary of the state of radio too. The larger problem is that the industry has gutted itself so much that there are so few real Broadcasters like Mercer left to try to bring it back.

Warriorjan
09-14-2009, 09:23 AM
I still have a picture of that streaker buried somewhere in my photos. Man, that was a cold day!

Lip Man 1
09-14-2009, 11:16 AM
Warrior:

If you can find it and publisher it here. We'd all love to see it. I could link it with the interview's audio cut.

Lip

Noneck
09-14-2009, 11:23 AM
Mercer was an announcer on WCCW years ago. Based out of Texas and was an "offshoot" of the NWA. Best know probably for Von Erich/Freebird fued. God that had to be over 25 years ago.

Thanks for the info.

I guess when Lip mentioned interviewing a pro wrestling broadcasting icon in a previous thread is was just a teaser.

btw: Another great interview, Lip.

Jerko
09-14-2009, 11:31 AM
Thanks for the info.

I guess when Lip mentioned interviewing a pro wrestling broadcasting icon in a previous thread is was just a teaser.

btw: Another great interview, Lip.

GREAT Mercer wrestling interview here. *** I remember some of those interviews he talks about almost word for word.


http://wccw2001.tripod.com/id8.html

Noneck
09-14-2009, 11:40 AM
GREAT Mercer wrestling interview here. *** I remember some of those interviews he talks about almost word for word.


http://wccw2001.tripod.com/id8.html

Good stuff.

Mercer should have brought Brusier Brody up to the booth one time. Harry may have treated him better after that.

mccoydp
09-14-2009, 11:54 AM
Mercer was an announcer on WCCW years ago. Based out of Texas and was an "offshoot" of the NWA. Best know probably for Von Erich/Freebird fued. God that had to be over 25 years ago.

Well, it wasn't an offshoot of the NWA. WCCW was a member of the NWA until the spring of 1986, when it split and became an independent promotion, the World Class Wrestling Association (WCWA). Rick Rude was the first WCWA champion. Bill Mercer was an integral part of the announcing and interviewing team; some of his interviews with Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin were a real hoot.

Back on the main topic: I look forward to reading this interview!

Hitmen77
09-14-2009, 12:36 PM
Great interview. My first year following the Sox was 1977, so I don't know much about any pre-Piersall broadcast partners with Harry Caray.

It's amazing that Caray was so harsh on players, coaches, other broadcasters, etc. when employed by the Sox but became a total team tool once he went to the Cubs. I wonder what accounts for this?


I wonder how things would have changed if Harry Caray had left the Sox after the end of his initial contract. The Cubs weren't in the market for an announcer at the time. He may have never ended up with a Wrigley Field statue.

Are you saying that there would be a statue of Milo Hamilton outside of Wrigley instead?:redneck

Warriorjan
09-14-2009, 02:59 PM
I'll dig around to see if I can find the photo later. I honestly don't remember the girl at all, but then it wouldn't have been something that attracted me, LOL!

Lip Man 1
09-14-2009, 03:35 PM
Hitmen:

My only possible answer to your question about Harry and the Cubs is that at his age they might have had him over a barrel. With his reputation, where else was he going to go? He basically did what they said or he was out of the business.

I don't know that for a fact, just a guess.

It seems the only Sox announcer who really got along with Harry for a long period of time was Lorn Brown.

Lip

Medford Bobby
09-14-2009, 04:23 PM
I honestly don't remember Harry Caray being suspended. I'm sure it wasn't presented on the air as a suspension, but I must have missed the games he missed on WMAQ.

I wonder how things would have changed if Harry Caray had left the Sox after the end of his initial contract. The Cubs weren't in the market for an announcer at the time. He may have never ended up with a Wrigley Field statue.

"I'm a Bud Man and an Expo Fan!!":D:

eriqjaffe
09-14-2009, 04:59 PM
"I'm a Bud Man and an Expo Fan!!":D:I'm pretty sure he would've been a Molson man.

TDog
09-14-2009, 05:17 PM
Hitmen:

My only possible answer to your question about Harry and the Cubs is that at his age they might have had him over a barrel. With his reputation, where else was he going to go? He basically did what they said or he was out of the business.

I don't know that for a fact, just a guess.

It seems the only Sox announcer who really got along with Harry for a long period of time was Lorn Brown.

Lip

I have been told that Harry Caray became a Cubs homer for the money they were paying him. His reputation as an announcer who ran players out of town was well-founded as the voice of the Cardinals and White Sox. He had worked for the Cubs' two greatest competitors (if not rivals) in Chicago and downstate. He remained popular with fans of his previous teams. If he could continue to slam those teams while praising the Cubs, having credibility as an honest announcer, the Cubs brand would thrive.

In later years with the Cubs, he would criticize players, but he never rode them the way he rode White Sox players. He never took the kind of shots at Lee Elia that he took at Chuck Tanner.

I recall when Bill Mercer after returning to Texas said something mildly critical about working with Harry Caray, Harry Caray responded with venom toward his former partner, attacking him and saying he was "back to selling girdles on Dallas radio."

slavko
09-14-2009, 08:25 PM
I have been told that Harry Caray became a Cubs homer for the money they were paying him. His reputation as an announcer who ran players out of town was well-founded as the voice of the Cardinals and White Sox. He had worked for the Cubs' two greatest competitors (if not rivals) in Chicago and downstate. He remained popular with fans of his previous teams. If he could continue to slam those teams while praising the Cubs, having credibility as an honest announcer, the Cubs brand would thrive.

In later years with the Cubs, he would criticize players, but he never rode them the way he rode White Sox players. He never took the kind of shots at Lee Elia that he took at Chuck Tanner.

I recall when Bill Mercer after returning to Texas said something mildly critical about working with Harry Caray, Harry Caray responded with venom toward his former partner, attacking him and saying he was "back to selling girdles on Dallas radio."

I don't think it's fair to say that he slammed his former teams. Not on air anyway. Both he and the Cubs said out loud that he was asked to change his approach and he did so. After all, they had him by the shorthairs unless he wanted to relocate at a fairly advanced age.

He had an ugly side and thanks to this interview and this site for talking frankly about it. At least Mercer has slightly less bitterness about it than Milo did.