2020 saw many monumental changes all around baseball, with the broadcast team of the Orioles being one of those changes. Long-time greats stayed at home during the pandemic, including current commentators Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne. This extended to the pre and post game group on MASN, that consisted of Rick Dempsey, Mike Bordick, and one, Jim Hunter.
As just announced on Twitter, the Orioles chose not to renew the contract of Jim Hunter, ending his tenure in Baltimore after 24 years.
Jim Hunter is a legend in Baltimore, as he and his voice were an integral part of the Orioles organization since 1997. No one could ever forget any Opening Day ceremonies. Hearing Hunter call each player down the orange carpet in center field, prepping Oriole fans for a brand new season in the best way possible.
The last time I, personally, got to experience this Opening Day ceremony in person was in 2018, which turned out to be a great day. Now, that Opening Day means a little more to me as a fan.
Hunter first was employed by the Orioles in 1997, following years on the CBS radio broadcast team. As a kid who was born in 1996 and fell in love with the Orioles early, the voice of Jim Hunter was a huge part of that. Someone who poured his heart and soul into his work, the Orioles, MASN, and Oriole fans alike were blessed to have someone like Hunter.
Growing up as a sports fan, every kid will associate his team’s announcers with the team itself. Most, however, I would argue, have not had as much influence on a fan base quite like Jim Hunter had in Baltimore. From tuning into MASN 30 minutes early to hear Hunter’s take on the upcoming game, to hearing him and Dempsey break down a game we just finished watching, Jim added a level to the game of baseball that has helped shaped my fandom today and is part of the reason I want to get into sports writing!
In a very uncertain and peculiar baseball season on the horizon in 2021, one thing will be certain. The Orioles broadcast team will never be the same without Jim Hunter.
Thank you for all the years, Jim! This Orioles fan will never forget them.