merle_harmonIt wasn’t an uncommon sight to see a kid tooling around town on his bicycle with a baseball mitt hooked on the handlebar, looking for a game. That “kid,” who always wanted to play professional baseball, missed participation in high school sports because in the early 1940’s Salem didn’t have a baseball program his sport He went on, though, to become one of the nation’s premier and most versatile sportcasters, Merle Harmon, a 1943 SCHS graduate, was inducted into the Salem High School
Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

He broadcast major league baseball for 30 years, spending seven seasons as the voice of the Kansas City A’s prior to their departure for Oakland, two with the Milwaukee Braves, followed by three seasons with the Minnesota Twins and then back to Milwaukee to become the voice of the Milwaukee Brewers. Bob Uecker joined Harmon in the Brewer booth and over the next ten years they became one of the hottest broadcast teams in baseball.

Meanwhile, Harmon joined NBC Sports, first as an independent and then exclusively, and handled the Major League Baseball Game of the Week, NFL Football, NCAA Basketball and special assignments for Sportsworld. He was named as one of the anchors for the 1980 Olympic telecasts in Moscow but President Carter banned the U.S. teams from participating.

Harmon was one of the television voices of the Texas Rangers, a post he filled since 1982. He could be heard during 1987-88 season calling various Big 8 Conference basketball games.

He was a member of the ABC-TV sportcasting team for more than ten years handling such assignments as Major League Baseball, NCAA Football, College Football Scoreboard, NBA Basketball and Wide World of Sports. He was also the voice of the New York Jets for nine years and was at the microphone for the Joe Namath led Jets’ upset win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.

Harmon’s long list of special assignments include the World Series, the All Star game, the Uberty, Holiday and Bluebonnet Bowl games, the East/West and North/South Shrine games, and co-anchoring the telecasts of the World University Games in Moscow in 1973.

He is one of only two announcers in major league baseball history to call two perfect games. Harmon holds degrees from Graceland College in Iowa and the University of Denver. In 1971, he became the third recipient of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Outstanding Alumnus Award. Two previous winners were President Richard M. Nixon and Congressional Medal of Honor winner and former American Football League Commissioner Joe Foss.

Harmon is also the recipient of Graceland College’s Distinguished Service Award and The Rockne Club has named him Sportscaster of the Year.

In 1977, he founded and is President of Merle Harmon Fan Fair Corporation, with approximately 100 “Merle Harmon Fan Fair” stores owned and franchised across the United States. The retail stores feature authentic licensed Iogo-bearing apparel worn by pro and college teams.