Born Melvin Allen Israel, Jefferson County native, Mel Allen, delivered the radio play-by-play for the New York Yankees for 25 years at the height of the team’s success and was one of the most recognizable voices in sportscasting for six decades. He began his career in 1935 broadcasting Alabama and Auburn football games. In 1937, Allen left for CBS in New York, then taking the job with the Yankees in 1939 that made him famous. His game calling style was a model for present day baseball announcers with Allen phrases like the famous “How about that!” and “Going, going, gone,” becoming part of the sports lexicon. In 1977, he was introduced to a new generation of baseball fans as host of This Week in Baseball. Throughout his life, Allen embraced his Alabama heritage, returning to the state frequently. He always credited his early experiences in broadcasting in Alabama for his subsequent success as one of sports broadcasting’s most influential announcers.
Photos courtesy of: Alamy, University of Florida, Library of Congress, University of Alabama