Hard to believe he'd been there 38 years. He announced his retirement a couple of weeks ago, and his final morning sports report was Friday. He'll continue to call Patriots' games on WBCN.
He got pretty emotional behind the mike, choking back tears, before getting a rousing send-off from the station. His colleagues lined both sides of the long corridor, applauding, shouting, and high-fiving him as he made his way out of the building for the last time as an employee. The station had a stretch limo waiting outside for him and his wife.
Listening to Gil on WBZ is one of those things you just took for granted if you grew up around here. My old man used to keep the kitchen AM dial tuned to 1030, so Gil was always there, along with Dave Maynard, Gary LaPierre and Joe Green in the BZ Copter, to keep us company over breakfast and usher us off on our walks school. Same for the radio in the old Plymouth wagon, and if we were ever on the road on weekday mornings we strained to hear their voices over the static as we drove under power lines. He joined the station when I was a five-year-old brat, so he's been part of my life as long as I can remember.
I realize it's no funeral, and I'm glad to know we'll continue hearing him call screen passes, backfield hand-offs and quarterback sacks. But his departure from WBZ has certainly made me take stock in the passage of time.
A poetic tribute from 'BZ colleague Carl Stephens
Gil in the WBZ TV studios with David Wade & Paula Ebben
Gil's final morning in the radio booth
And here's additional video of Gil's final walk taken by a WBZ staffer:
Gil's final commentary - Some classy words.
Ex-BZ newsman Gary LaPierre speaks about his friend
Pats' owner Bob Kraft on Gil's legacy
Gil reflects on his final day with BZ's Deb Lawler
BZ producer Michael Coleman looks back on Gil's career
Longtime friends offer their thoughts
LaPierre and Dave Maynard mix humorous jabs with honest praise
Edited by mabrowndog, 02 February 2009 - 11:18 AM.