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Lindsey Nelson (May 25, 1919–June 10, 1995) was an Americanmarker sportscaster best known for his broadcast of college football and New York Mets baseball.


Early life and career

Born on May 25, 1919, in Campbellsville, Tennessee, Nelson broke into broadcasting in 1948 following a short career as a reporter in Columbia, Tennesseemarker for the Columbia Daily Herald newspaper, and a stint in the U.S. Army as a war correspondent and public relations during World War II. He was the first play-by-play announcer for the "Vol Network" which was set up to broadcast the games of the University of Tennesseemarker.

"Mr. New Years Day" Nelson subsequently did the play-by-play of the Cotton Bowl Classic for 25 seasons on CBS television, where he earned widespread recognition for his deep Southern drawl and signature opening greeting: "Happy New Year - This is Lindsey Nelson in the Cotton Bowlmarker in Dallasmarker." For 13 years he was the syndicated television voice of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football, and he called the Mutual Broadcasting System's Monday night radio broadcasts of NFL games from 1974 to 1977. Nelson also called NFL games for CBS television for many years.

Nelson began his national baseball broadcast career as one of Gordon McLendon's radio announcers for the Liberty Broadcasting System, which primarily did re-creations of games. After a stretch as an administrator with the NBC television network, he began doing NBC baseball broadcasts in .

New York Mets

In , Nelson was hired by the Mets, and for the next 17 seasons did both radio and television with Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy. All three men were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. When Chicago White Sox pitcher and former Mets ace Tom Seaver went for his 300th victory in August 1985, against the host New York Yankees, Yankees TV flagship WPIXmarker had Nelson call the final half-inning of Seaver's history-making win.

San Francisco Giants

In , Nelson moved on to the San Francisco Giants, for whom he worked three seasons. He also worked with CBS Radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball in . Nelson is remembered for being the announcer during the first NFL game, on CBS, to feature the use of "instant replay", which he had to explain repeatedly during the game, reminding viewers that "this is not live."

Fashion sense and style

Television broadcasts featuring Nelson were notable for his "loud" psychedelic-colored or multi-colored plaid sports jackets. He reportedly owned 335 of them at one time. During a broadcast, his jackets often clashed with the set and produced a scintillation effect in the broadcast image, when broadcast using the inadequate television technology of the era. Mutual Broadcasting System President C. Edward Little complained that "Nelson never sent any of his jackets to the cleaners and they often smelled quite awful."


Nelson's honors include induction into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in Salisbury, North Carolinamarker in 1979; induction into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in ; induction into the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame in 1986; the Tuss McLaughry Service Award for sports broadcasting in 1988; the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Famemarker in 1988; the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker in 1990; and an Emmy Award for Life Achievement in 1991.

The Tennessee Volunteers baseball team's home field, Lindsey Nelson Stadiummarker, carries his namesake.

Retirement and death

After his retirement from active broadcasting he moved to Knoxville, Tennesseemarker to an apartment across the Tennessee River from the University of Tennesseemarker campus from which he had a view of Neyland Stadiummarker, the Vols' home field, and wrote an autobiographical memoir.

Nelson died of Parkinson's disease on June 10, 1995, in Atlantamarker, Georgiamarker, aged 76.

See also

External links

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