The Oakland A’s family was rocked Thursday for the second time in four days with the news that Roy Steele, who was the Coliseum’s public address announcer for almost four decades had passed away at his home in Auburn.
That news came four days after Steele’s longtime pal, Coliseum scoreboard operator Chester Farrow, passed away. When Steele threw out a ceremonial first pitch, it was Farrow who caught it.
Steele’s booming baritone voice was the backdrop of A’s baseball from the point of the team’s arrival through the 2005 season. Health issue kept him out for the 2006 season, but he worked part time in the 2007 and 2008 seasons before achalasia, a disorder of the esophagus, force him to the sidelines, although he would return to the Coliseum from time to time.
“We mourn the loss of “The Voice of God,” Roy Steele, who passed away today at his home,” the A’s said in a statement. “As the PA voice of the A’s for nearly four decades, his booming baritone filled the Coliseum from the Mustache Gang to Billy Ball, the Bash Brothers and Moneyball. Beloved by all, he touched the lives of generations of A’s fans. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Steele was held in such high regard that the A’s created a bobblehead promotion for him in April of 2010.
Nicknamed “The Voice of God” by current San Francisco Giants’ voice Jon Miller, Steele was also the voice of dot racing for decades, somehow making the sight of three small ovals circle a track on the scoreboard exciting.
According the whitecleatbeat.com, Steele was a Baptist minister for 17 years and had also worked at Marine World/Africa USA when it was based in Redwood City. He spent time as a disc jockey and worked at a park and rec department.
But when he met Charlie Finley about the time the A’s owner was moving the team from Kansas City to Oakland, Steele got the job without an audition. He would go on to announce more then 3,000 games and at one point called 1,093 consecutive Coliseum A’s games from 1990 through 2004.
He had enough of an impact on the Bay Area sports scene that he served as the PA announcer for the Warriors in the 1970s as well as the Oakland Invaders of the USFL in the 1980s, the American Basketball Association Oakland Oaks in the late 1960s and the Oakland Aces of World Team Tennis in 1985.
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