I struggle to put into words what Milo Hamilton means to me as an Astros fan. When I think of who would narrate a play, the history, or any other part of the Astros I think of Milo. His voice was Astros baseball.
Honestly, he is a milemarker of a time gone by. Before the time when everything under the sun streamed video, you listened to a least a good portion of the games on the radio. The one constant connection for every Astros fan was Milo. You always knew something amazing was happening when Milo build up the tension and finally told what had happened in his colorful manor.
I remember always asking my dad if I could listen to the Astros radio station on the way home from the game. Yes, I had just watched the game in person but I wanted to hear Milo's call of the action. I wanted to live it over again through his words, I lived through his excitement and joy for Astros baseball.
It was always a special treat to have call out the starting lineups at Opening Day, but it was also where you saw his health was declining after he retired in 2012. I'm happy he's at peace and now he can give out some blue stars to baseball players of the ages.
I've given my memories of Milo, here are the rest of TCB's:
'Astros Win! Astros win! Astros win!'
The voice of my childhood has passed away. So tolls the final knell of the bell for my innocence and youth, and so begins with finality my irrevocable adulthood. It is a colder, darker place than I had hoped it would be.
Trips to Oma's house were narrated by Milo Hamilton. Hard hits playing sandlot baseball with my friends growing up were punctuated with our imitations of his signature catch phrase. Even two person backseat high school nights in the privacy of an empty suburban parking lot were overseen by his voice, omnipresent and unmoved by the frivolities of adolescence and other things irrelevant when lain at the feet of the Altar of Baseball.
To adopt a phrase I real in passing from some TV show, "I don't know how to exist in a world where Milo Hamilton doesn't."
Rest in peace, dear man. Holy Toledo, what an impact you had on my life.
The Astros lost their two Voices in less than two weeks. First, it was Gene Elston's passing. Now it's Milo's. It's a sad month for Astros fans.
I wonder which generation will be the last to connect with baseball through the radio. There's a magic to listening to a game through that medium, even though it's slowly going away. For me, growing up was about listening to Milo dole out his blue stars and his nicknames, to get excited about big plays and to then wait a few minutes for him to tell you what actually happened. He was an impossible homer, but at least he was our homer.
As he and I got older, the game caught up to him. It was easy to make jokes about his way of calling the game, of his connection to the team, of how long he'd go without giving you a score. But, those never felt like criticisms. They were his eccentricities and we held them dear.
Robert Ford carries on the Astros radio tradition well, but I fear there will never be another Voice of the Astros after Milo and Gene.
Goodbye, Milo. Say hello to Ernie, throw shade at Harry Carry and calm that crazy Lima kid down for us. We're going to miss you down here.
For a while my family didn't have cable, so KSIX 1230 and Milo Hamilton served as my portal to Astros baseball. We would gather around the radio, eat dinner and listen to the 'Stros games, probably not too different from how Milo followed his favorite teams growing up in Iowa in the '30s and '40s. Even though I lived four hours away and our cheap radio faded in and out of a nearby Tejano station, Milo always gave the feeling you were sitting right next to him. He was both old school and timeless. The excitement and thrill of his signature "That's gonna be...OUTTA HERE!" call of Hank Aaron's 715th home run hardly faded 31 years later when Chris Burke launched a series-clinching shot in the 18th inning against Milo's former team. "IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE! IT'S GONE! HOLY TOLEDO!". He was a huge part of my baseball experience growing up and he will be missed.
I grew up unable to watch most of Astros baseball, but 740 AM was my way of always listening to Astros baseball. I think I've stated this before, but I was driving a tractor listening to the whole game leading up to Chris Burke's 18th inning shot. Hearing "It's Gone, It's Gone, It's Gone, Chris Burke, Holy Toledo what a way to finish" is forever etched in my mind. I was driving a blue New Holland, discing a field. I started slamming on the horn and jumping up and down like an insane person. (I was 13 at the time). My dad raced out to me on the four wheeler we had because he thought I was dying or something.
I'll never ever forget that. I also remember arguing with a dodgers fan in college about how Milo Hamilton was a substantially better announcer than Vin Scully. No one will ever tell me otherwise. Rest in peace Milo. You'll be missed by many in the game.
I was a grown man of sixteen when Milo took over for good. I didn't like him at first because I was angry that Gene Elston had been let go, and Gene was the voice of my childhood. But like many folks, in time Milo grew on me. Whenever I think of Milo it reminds me of driving around Houston with my buddies in my 1977 Chevy Nova, listening to the game, and trying to either get into or out of trouble.
I loved that he loved the game. He had a story for every situation. And score, count, play, whatever be damned...you were gonna hear that story. He had his pet names for all the players, and "Baggy", "Doggie", "Scrap Iron", "Wrangler" among others entered into the everyday speech of Astros fans. He was never a cookie cutter type announcer like some other teams had (and have). He was a fan. You came away from a game thinking he would probably do this for free if management decided they couldn't afford to pay a guy to do it. He was a throwback to the days of homers who were more like a friend, uncle or grandpa watching the game with you. He would gripe right along with you about every close play that didn't go the Astros way. He would get so excited about the action on the diamond that he would forget to actually tell the audience about it. As an Astros fan you just understood that "HOLY TOLEDO WHAT A PLAY" was good, whether you actually knew what happened or not. (And once he calmed down he would eventually let you in on the secret.) He had opinions and he was going to tell them to you. So in that respect, he is not unlike most of us here at TCB.
Milo was the soundtrack to my favorite baseball memories of the past thirty years, and I am sad he has passed on.