NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Baseball analyst Tim McCarver said Wednesday he will “step down” from his position at Fox after this season.
“I wanted to step down while I know I can still do the job and proud of the job I’ve done,” he said during a conference call.
The 71-year-old said he had been thinking about moving on for a couple of years. Fox executives visited him at his home in Florida this winter to discuss extending his contract, which expired after the 2013 season, and McCarver already had made up his mind.
“It’s not a tough call,” he said. “It’s not a sad thing for me.”
Later on WFAN radio, McCarver was adamant the word “retirement” shouldn’t be used.
“I didn’t announce my retirement,” McCarver told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. “I just said I was stepping away from doing the job that I’ve done since 1996, and that’s the game of the week, the All-Star game and postseason baseball. … I am by no means retiring next year. I’ve got to do something, and I know there will be plenty of things out there to do.”
He added: “I still have my television show, and I don’t know where that’s going to go, but there are plenty of things with which to stay busy. But I am by no means retiring.”
McCarver hinted at possibly retaining a role with the network.
“Yeah, I’m not going anywhere,” he told Francesa. “I’m not retiring. I’m just not gonna be doing the same thing for Fox next year that I’m doing this year.”
He has worked 28 consecutive MLB postseasons on network television dating to 1984, providing analysis for a record 23 World Series.
McCarver got his start in broadcasting in 1980 with the Philadelphia Phillies and NBC’s “Game of the Week.” He has also called local games for the New York Mets and Yankees and the San Francisco Giants.
McCarver later worked for ABC and CBS before joining Fox in 1996. Last year, he was honored by baseball’s Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award for major contributions to baseball broadcasting.
“You’ve always been a great symbol of class,” Commissioner Bud Selig told McCarver on the conference call.
McCarver spent 21 seasons in the majors between 1959 and 1980, mostly with the Cardinals and Phillies. He was a two-time All-Star and won the World Series in 1964 and 1967 with St. Louis.
He missed the start of the 2011 AL championship series because of a minor heart-related procedure, but the test result that necessitated that medical work turned out to be a false positive.
McCarver has seen other people in various businesses stay at their jobs until their health eventually forced them out, and their quality of life was often not very good after they retired. McCarver didn’t want that for himself.
A wine aficionado with a second home in California’s Napa Valley, he’d love to travel to Italy for cooking classes.
“I plan on living a very long life, believe me,” McCarver said. “I hope Mother Nature cooperates.”
McCarver could still appear on Fox or its new cable network, Fox Sports 1, in a different role in the future.
McCarver worked with announcer Jack Buck on CBS from 1990-91 then became broadcast partners with his son, Joe Buck, at Fox in 1996.
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Joe Buck said he had learned more about broadcasting from McCarver than anyone else, “even my father.”
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