The Obit For Frank Messer

Frank Messer, former New York Yankees  Broadcaster Dies at 76


AP-NY-11-13-01 1740EST

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Frank Messer, who broadcast New York Yankees games for 16 seasons, died Tuesday. He was 76.

Messer passed away in his sleep at his Deerfield Beach home after being ill for some time, according to his ex-wife, Rebecca Messer. He was to be buried in his hometown of Asheville, N.C., but final arrangements were incomplete.

Messer, a Marine, served in the South Pacific during World War II. He broke into baseball broadcasting in 1964 with the Baltimore Orioles.

In 1968, Messer brought his clear and simple announcing style to the Yankees' booth, replacing Joe Garagiola and joining Phil Rizzuto and Jerry Coleman.

Rizzuto and Messer were joined by Bill White in 1971, and they were broadcast partners until Messer's last season in 1984.

Messer broadcast Yankees championships in 1977 and 1978 and helped fans get through the death of catcher Thurman Munson in 1979. He also worked as the master of ceremonies for the Yankees Oldtimer's Game until last year.

``Its a very sad day,'' said Rick Cerrone, the Yankees' director of media relations. ``He was an outstanding announcer and also an oustanding person. He was a true gentleman.''

Messer's survivors include two daughters and a son.