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Garagiola to announce retirement from broadcasting

Former catcher had 58-year career, worked 'Game of the Week,' hosted 'Today' show

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Legendary broadcaster and former Major League catcher Joe Garagiola will announce his retirement Wednesday after a 58-year television and radio career, the last 15 of which were with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The team has scheduled a news conference to be held at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the D-backs' training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz, so that Garagiola, accompanied by Arizona president and CEO Derrick Hall, can discuss his decision to retire from broadcasting.

Garagiola, who turned 87 last week, had an extensive post-playing career that included stints as a regular panelist on NBC's "The Today Show," multiple guest-hosting appearances on "The Tonight Show" and hosting multiple game shows in the 1960s and '70s, along with his prestigious baseball broadcasting career.

He was the 1991 winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award and was inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Association's Hall of Fame in 2010. Among his other honors, Garagiola received the Bud Selig Award for lifetime achievement in the game of baseball in 2011.

Garagiola has associated with a number of legends throughout his life, starting all the way back in St. Louis, Mo., where as a child he grew up just a few doors down from future Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. The two both made their Major League debuts in 1946, with Garagiola's Cardinals winning the World Series that season. Berra, however, bested his childhood friend by winning the title the following season and going on to win nine other World Series as a player.

A left-handed hitter, Garagiola played nine seasons in the Major Leagues, parts of six of them with the Cardinals, and finished with a .257 batting average, 42 home runs and 255 RBIs in 676 games.

Upon his retirement as a player following the 1954 season, Garagiola started calling Cardinals games on the radio alongside Harry Caray and Jack Buck from 1955-62. Garagiola also worked with another legend, Vin Scully, during part of his 30-year broadcasting tenure at NBC.

As NBC's No. 1 baseball broadcasting crew from 1983-88, Garagiola and Scully called each Saturday's "Game of the Week," as well as three All-Star Games, three National League Championship Series and three Fall Classics.

In yet another honor, the D-backs renamed the broadcast wing of the Chase Field press box in Garagiola's honor in 2009. The Joe Garagiola Broadcast Booth features a 50-foot photo timeline commemorating Garagiola's career.

Outside of the broadcast booth, Garagiola has engaged in numerous community-service efforts. He works for the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.), educates players on the pitfalls of chewing tobacco, has written several baseball books and has received multiple honors for his work with youth.

Garagiola, along with his wife, Audrey, currently live in Scottsdale, and all three of their children have followed in his footsteps to a degree.

His eldest son, Joe Jr., was the D-backs' general manager from 1995-2005 and currently serves as the senior vice president of standards and on-field operations for Major League Baseball. His other son, Steve, and daughter, Gina, have both worked as television reporters.

Paul Casella is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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