Longtime Miami Marlins public address announcer, Dick Sanford, passed away Tuesday after a 15-month battle with cancer. Well known for his warm personality, Sanford’s voice rang throughout New Miami Stadium and Marlins Park from 2000-2014.
Elected to the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, Sanford graduated from Florida Southern in 1968 after studying journalism and political science. He began his MLB PA career in the 1970s after spending two years in the Naval Reserve working at a military radio station in Sicily. He announced Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves games in Kansas City at old Municipal Stadium, but later moved back to the West Palm Beach area to work for WPTV and WJNO radio.
He eventually started announcing games at Roger Dean Stadium in 1998, beginning with the Miami Marlins in 2000. What is most incredible about Sanford's career are the stories about him maintaining a connection to his West Palm Beach community by announcing high school and American Legion baseball games. Here is a great quote from a high school coach and friend of Sanford’s from an article by Dave George:
"He just loved helping kids. He exemplified class and professionalism. He was a giver, a sports fanatic, with a memory like an elephant."
Sanford would announce high school games without pay, even on the same day as a Marlins game. Incredible. I will leave you with a quote from ABC10’s Will Mano, who grew up in West Palm Beach. He played baseball in high school and had Sanford as PA announcer in his American Legion games. Mano described PA Sanford’s abilities beautifully:
I was one of the many names he announced over the years, from little leaguers to Hall of Fame players. Yet, he made everyone feel like a pro.