CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - If there’s a Mount Rushmore of Cleveland play-by-play announcers, Joe Tait is certainly on it.
The voice of the Cavaliers for four decades, from the team’s inception in 1970 through the 2010-2011 season, Tait passed away on Wednesday following a battle with liver cancer. He was 83.
He witnessed it all, and called it all, for the Cavs. From a franchise struggling to stay afloat in the early days, to a franchise player, LeBron James, who would eventually lead them to the promised land.
Of course, that was a long road in Cavs’ history, and there is no Cavs history without Joe Tait.
He told me years ago that his favorite Cavs memory came from 1976 ... the Miracle of Richfield, when the team made the playoffs for the first time and beat the Washington Bullets in a dramatic seven game series.
Tait would still be behind the microphone three decades later, when LeBron James led them on their first Finals run.
In fact, Tait called more than 3,000 Cavs games, but his versatility stretched far beyond basketball. He was the voice of Mount Union football for more than 30 years, and as any Indians fan can tell you, was also behind the mic for Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981.
Legendary announcers are more than just the voice of a team. They become a part of our lives. A piece of our most cherished memories. Inseparable from those moments that live on forever.
Joe Tait’s legacy will, as well. That is secure. Along with his place up high in the rafters.