It's a Very Simple Game
Charley Eckman
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1980's


WCBM and WFBR Radio Sportscaster, Color man for the Baltimore Orioles Radio, Baltimore Colts, Baltimore Blast Indoor Soccer, Thoroughbred Horse Racing and The World Series of Handicapping and Speaker Extraordinaire

The 1980's - Sports for radio and television

"Shy, he never was. Quiet, he never was. Retiring, he never could be!"
Michael Olesker, Baltimore Sun Paper on Charley's retirement from WFBR

Charley's retirement from WFBR Eckman was living the life he truly loved-talking about sports and entertaining anyone who would listen. In 1987, Eckman formally retired from his daily WFBR shows. As John Steadman, columnist for the Evening Sun wrote: "Eckman calls a cab and rides off into the Sunset ...Nothing was ever gift-wrapped for Charley Eckman, who found that the steep bridge to success was locating a radio station that would power his words to a listening public that either had to become conditioned to the shock treatment he purveyed or else turn him off. Being soft-spoken or tentative wasn't his style. The Eckman you heard on radio is the same one you meet at the racetrack, on the street corner or in a restaurant-brash, bold and brackish."

Fred Neil wrote: "One of Charley's favorite sports was soccer. He had the opportunity to kick it around on the air waves. Charley handled the color commentator on WFBR for the Baltimore Blast of the Major Indoor Soccer League. Charley, as usual, had a blast...but the fans listening to his commentary may have had a larger one." "Eventually the 'Blast' folded but Eckman returned to do color on TV with the new indoor soccer team, 'The SPIRIT,' Sandra McKee sports writer for the Baltimore Sun writes: "Like Wittman, Eckman gives 'Spirit' a familiar look. Home Team Sports (HTS) team includes Tom Davis and Mangione (Blasts' from the past)."

In the 1980's, Charley reigned as a frequent guest on many television sports and talk shows: WJZ-TV (with John Kennerly, "Baseball Scouting Report"); Oriole great Boog Powell on "Baseball and Boog" TV Show, "Donovan, Braase and Friends" featuring former Baltimore Colts Art Donovan and Ordell Braase, HTS "Tom Davis Show" and with Richard Sher of WJZ-TV on "Square Off."Master of Ceremonies Charlie Eckman (right) presents the winner's trophy


Charley continued his love of Thoroughbred Horse Racing with the yearly World Series of Handicapping in Pennsylvania .
"Master of Ceremonies Charlie Eckman (right) presents the winner's trophy with President and General Manager John J. Shumaker (left) of Penn National Race Course to Amateur handicapper Sherman Brown, Jr. of Dover, Massachusetts (center)."

Charley also became a movie star appearing as a boxing ring master in the movie "Blood Circus" made in Baltimore .

January 22, 1980 - Personal letter from Mitch Tulla, St. Paul's School, Brooklandville, MD concerning Charley's views of the Olympics. "Dear Charlie, I happened to catch your sports show on WFBR and I just have to tell you-you are an American! Congratulations on expounding a point of view which is badly needed in this country. I have taught U.S. History and have been in athletics, as well, for a lot of years. Based on my experience in these fields, I must say:

- You are right about patriotism
- You are right about the Olympics
- You are right about the "mollycoddlers"!


The fact is you are more than a sports announcer - you are a philosopher and a patriot."

March 27, 1980 - Letter of appreciation to Charlie for underwriting the expenses for the Showcase Players appearing at the Benedictine School Rehabilitation Center for handicapped children and adults.

April 26, 1980 - "Charley attends the Tri-County Special Olympics as special guest. Talking with him is Mike Vecchioni of the Benedictine School . Mike is one of the school's exceptional athletes."

SOCCER: " Professional Indoor Soccer" ..."Charlie Eckman, looking slightly naked without a cigar in his hand, is talking about the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team. He is seated next to his WFBR radio sidekick, Art Sinclair. Eckman has a 'gatling gun' delivery in normal conversation but pro indoor soccer prohibits normal conversation. The game breaks a Blast nine-game home winning streak, but the place is sold out, and the team is still in first place."

"In typical Eckman fashion, he learned to pronounce the various Slavic names. But, unlike his broadcasting stints with the Colts and the Orioles, Charley did enter the locker room and he got to know and developed a rapport with the players and the coach. He didn't hold back criticism when it was warranted and he created excitement on the air." by Michael Olesker, Baltimore Sun Paper.

"Charley's love for soccer was evident in his colorcast duties. Charley and Blast Coach Kenny Cooper became close friends. Cooper was amazed by Eckman's remarkable ability to meet someone he personally knew in every city they visited. Eckman bet that during their travels with the team, he would always-always know someone. For 74 away trips in a row with the Blast, Charley met in arenas, restaurants, hotels, airports or on the street one or more acquaintances. For Kenny, to meet someone you know during 74 trips in our huge country was unfathomable." Fred Neil, co-author of Charley's book, It's a Very Simple Game"Charley was one of nine guest speakers including Frank McGuire, Red Auerbach, Lefty Driesell, Billy Packer, Vic Bubas, and Sam Jones for The MS Dinner/roast of Champions for Wake Forest coach, Bones McKinney


October 7, 1980 - Charley was one of nine guest speakers including Frank McGuire, Red Auerbach, Lefty Driesell, Billy Packer, Vic Bubas, and Sam Jones for The MS Dinner/roast of Champions for Wake Forest coach, Bones McKinney .

October 8, 1980 - Joe Tiede of The News & Observer, Raleigh, NC writes: "Charley Eckman - recalling 'em like he saw 'em"...."Nothing awes Charley Eckman -- not even the sight of four old adversaries like Vic Bubas, Frank McGuire, Bones McKinney and Lefty Driesell. Charley handled them all Tuesday just as he has always done, with rapid-fire chatter and a barrage of wisecracks.

"Eckman, once the king of ACC basketball referees, was in town to participate in the Bones McKinney Roast. He didn't look much different and he talked as fast as ever. "I'm enjoying life," he said during an afternoon interview. "I do four sports shows a day for WFBR in Baltimore and I give three or four talks a month. Believe me, talking is a lot easier than running."
It has been 12 years since Charley worked ACC basketball, but those who saw him aren't likely to forget him. He was a bundle of energy who had an uncanny knack for keeping things loose in the tightest situations. He talked to everybody - players, coaches, sportswriters, and ushers, anybody who crossed his path."
Charley always worked the biggest ACC games - State-Carolina, tournament finals, Dixie Classic. He called them every year for 10 years before giving up officiating because his ankles were bothering him. "I loved it down here," he recalled. "I loved to work the big games. I never had trouble with a player in my life. I just kept talking to 'em. I stopped more fouls from being committed than I ever called."

Charley, 5-10 with curly black hair, never looked serious on the court. It could be the finals of the ACC Tournament with the score tied and a minute to play and he'd still be grinning and joking. "I like to think I have a sense of humor," he explained. "You remember that slowdown game between Duke and Carolina (1966 tournament). I pulled out a chair and sat down. Nothing was happening, so I figured I might as well rest, too." Charley Eckman had a style of his own. The pressure-cooker basketball of the ACC has never seen another like him."


Thoroughbred Horse Racing - October 23, 1980 - Penn National Race Course letter:

"Well, my dear friend, another year with the World Series of Handicapping and I must hasten to add it was the best one to date in the five year history of the contest. I'm anxious to read Bill Leggett's article in Sports Illustrated scheduled to appear the last week in October....will ensure the national recognition it deserves. Still there is another aspect about the contest's uniqueness. And that 'specialness' is you, Charlie. You know how to cut some humor into the seriousness to ease the tensions and when to go to a handicapper when his luck is going bad and pick up his spirits. When these contestants leave and return to their hometown, be they amateurs or professionals, they take with them the good feelings of what they have just participated in and that it took place here at Penn National. Thank you so much ...thank you, thank you...Penn National."


March 6, 1981 - Charley directed the Grange Elementary School PTA Auction. "We had the largest crowd we have ever had! I attribute this to Charlie Eckman's drawing power. Much appreciation to Charley."

Soccer Highlights .....November 16, 1981 - Letter from Harry Shriver, President WFBR to Charley et al: "Friday nights' "historic" broadcast of the Blast game was nothing short of superb! I was very proud of the effort made by everybody concerned and especially Charley and Art Donovan. They worked beautifully together and created on-air excitement that made the listener feel as if he were there in the Civic Center . Even the half-time interview with John Unitas was good. It was good radio and I thank everybody involved for a great broadcast."

Dec 17, 1981... Charles Street Thanksgiving Day Parade, Baltimore, MD. "Dear Charley, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for everything you did to help make the Charles Street Thanksgiving Parade such a wonderful success. I can think of no better way to kick off the Charles Street renaissance than with a parade. Having your support meant a great deal and we really appreciate it." Mayor of Baltimore .

Master of Ceremonies Charlie Eckman introduces Mr. and Mrs. Pascal at Bud's Crab House


February 12, 1982 "Master of Ceremonies Charlie Eckman introduces Mr. and Mrs. Pascal at Bud's Crab House"


July 27, 1982 - Personal letter from Head Coach American Legion Post 38, Paul Scardina, thanking Charlie for providing a memorable night for a young soccer team. "The team raised money to participate in a European Soccer Tour. They played four games on July 4th winning over Germany, Israel and Holland . Charley arranged for a banquet, donation of individual trophies, and was Master of Ceremonies at the banquet. Mr. Eckman is the person responsible for it all. He provided the most memorable night for our young soccer team and myself." A letter was also received from the European coordinator.

October 24, 1982 - "Charlie Eckman seems to be doing the talking. Listening, with what looks like anticipation are Phil Itzoe and Sid Marcies" "Orioles celebrate at a season's-end party. "Following the conclusion of the 1982 season, WFBR hosted a party for the Baltimore Orioles. WFBR has broadcast Oriole games over the past four years and has just signed the Birds to another four-year contract." The Sun
Charley as guest speaker for the National Security Agency


October 1982 - "Charley as guest speaker for the National Security Agency, Fort Meade, MD 30th Anniversary Ceremony.

February 27, 1983 - Charley Eckman and other notables will be joining Rudy Miller on Sunday at P.J. Crickets for an "Off the Wall" party. Only those people whose likenesses grace Cricket's gallery wall are invited to the party which, will serve as a kickoff for the Easter Seal telethon hosted by Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. By Laura Charles, The Sun Newspaper.

Charley and daughter,


July 16, 1982.
Charley and daughter,
Janet at a political function.
Call a Cab
"Call A Cab" March 1983 - Maryland Sport Scene Magazine, by Gerry Kelly..."Call a Cab ...Charlie Eckman is never at a loss for an opinion when it comes to talking about sports" "Give 'em hell, Charlie. "Those damn football players, they don't know when they have things good. All of 'em can call a cab." Give 'em more hell, Charlie. "The Ooooorioles. Now there's a class operation. The Yankees, well they've got what they deserve - George Steinbrenner. He doesn't have to call a cab. He can buy the damn company." Raise the roof, Charlie. "Soccer, I tell you what. This indoor league is the game of the 80's. Ain't no other game around gonna touch it in five years. Believe me, it's gonna take off." Like him or loathe him, Charlie Eckman is never lost for words. At 61 years of age, the voice of Maryland sports still is every bit the critic he was 30 years ago. "Damn right. My eyes don't deceive me. I call what I see," says Eckman, speaking in his typical machine-gun rapidity that has made him popular. So why is this former NBA referee and coach now touting and praising the Major Indoor Soccer League? Eckman, long an advocate of soccer, says today's youth is the game's biggest asset. Look at the economy, he says. "It costs a fortune to put kids in a football uniform. By the time he's got all the equipment on and wearing his usual 16 yards of tape, he walks onto the field looking like a Roman gladiator. But give a kid interested in soccer $20 and he can buy shoes, socks, shirt, pants and a supporter...He's ready."

Eckman says he works off a fact sheet and does everything a person isn't supposed to do. Sometimes it gets him in trouble. Although he is Maryland 's most outspoken sports critic, he has never been sued. Once, though, he did get suspended for a week.

WFBR

I'd rather forget that," he admits "I had it coming. I've got offers from NY, LA,. Chicago and for big money - $80,000. Money isn't everything. Eckman says people love a guy who makes waves. "People may not know my face," he says, "but they sure as hell know my voice."

May 11, 1983 - Letter of Appreciation to Charley from Harry Shriver, WFBR President: "Last night's coverage of the Blast playoff game during the broadcast of the Oriole game was excellent! I think it demonstrates what can be done in innovative sports broadcasting. Art (Donovan) and Charley did a great job with the live cut-ins and with the play-by-play. Hats off to everybody. I am proud of you."

June 2, 1983 - Personal thank you letter from students at Mt. St. Joseph High School in appreciation for Charley's speaking on the topic, "The Importance of Enthusiasm, (and he did an excellent job in presenting his views.) He accepted the invitation, asking no monetary compensation. His unselfishness and dedication to our youth should be commended."

Sportscaster Charlie Eckman Visits Belcamp Bata Shoe Company Factory


June 3, 1983 - "Sportscaster Charlie Eckman Visits Belcamp Bata Shoe Company Factory. He was visiting to discuss our current and future sponsorship activities and the popularity of athletic footwear among professional players as well as the general public. During his visit, Mr. Eckman toured the factory and talked about his latest project - attending a U.S. soccer rules and scoring convention in Chicago , where he plans to recommend changes designed to help the growth of this exciting sport."

July 6, 1983 - "What's the matter with sports? Money, say outspoken sportscasters." by John Kelly, The Sun Newspaper. "Neal Eskridge says the players are "greedy"; Chris Thomas says the owners are "crazy", and Charlie Eckman's description of both would burn a hole in this newspaper."
"Eckman, who is in no danger of being mistaken for a Rhodes Scholar, shoots verbally at anything that moves, sometimes wounding the innocent along with the guilty. His saving grace is his humor, unintended though it may often be, and his knowledge of sports. He played, coached and refereed baseball, basketball and soccer. Eckman calls owning a major league franchise "like having a license to steal," and says it's "the greatest tax break in the history of the world."
"Eckman, who's been fracturing the King's English at WFBR for almost 15 years, says Irsay's "not a bad man," he's "just an out-of-town guy" with no ties to Baltimore . And that's a bigger sin in his eyes than "not returning (sports writers) phone calls. "That's the problem here. We've got this guy (Irsay) running the Colts from Chicago, and this guy (Edward Bennett) Williams running the Orioles from Washington, and this guy (Bernie) Rodin running the Blast from NY and except for 400 guys names who are running the Skipjacks, we got no Baltimore people running anything. We're pawns and it makes me cry."
"Eckman, who rarely passes up a chance to bad-mouth Washington , says that city is "bush league." The fans wouldn't support the Senators, he notes and they haven't supported the Bullets (whom he's never forgiven for leaving Baltimore ). He reserves his biggest gripe, however, for ballplayers who don't hustle. "I can't stand a person who doesn't put out. I don't mind errors if a guy's trying, but I have no use or respect for him if he's dogging it."
"There are a few in Baltimore and Eckman says he's gone after them. The almighty dollar controls the player. They don't care about the game. What's important is salary. Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies said he couldn't look at himself in the mirror in the morning if he played for less than $800,000 a year. And there were more names... "
"The biggest jerks of all are the fans who put up with all this "venal nonsense." Charley feels sorry "for the average Joe" who takes his family to the ballpark. I can't help it, he says. "After the poor bastard pays for the tickets and the parking and something to eat, and gets robbed, shot or yoked, he's probably out 50 bucks or more."
"I see what I see," Eckman says, grousing about a growing tendency among sportswriters and sportscasters to "find excuses" for ballplayers. People should wake up and look at sports for what it is."

Mars Company Picnic


1983 Mars Company Picnic -
Pete and Charley

August 18, 1983 - Letter from The White House (President Reagan), Washington, DC extending an invitation for a White House briefing on the Sports Drug Education Program and announcement of the Topps Sports Cards Campaign..."Team Up Against Drugs." The White House has embarked on an aggressive campaign to reduce the availability and use of illicit drugs especially among our youth."

1980's article by Sylvia Boone: "WFBR's Charley Eckman has helped the Maryland Special Olympics Committee more than any other Baltimore TV/Radio shows including Oprah Winfrey and Richard Sher of "People are Talking."

1983-84 Collegiate Basketball Officials Association, Inc. listed Charles M. Eckman as an Honorary Member.

State of Maryland House of Delegates Resolution:


April 6, 1984 - State of Maryland House of Delegates Resolution: "Sincerest Congratulations to Charlie Eckman in recognition of his many years of service to the people of Maryland as a professional basketball referee, coach and sports announcer."


Charley with Bill Freehley  Charley with Murray Weingarten
Charley with Murray Weingarten on the right
and Bill Freehley on the left

May 1, 1984 -"Could a point spread help MISL? Bet on it.... Well, maybe! "Charlie Eckman, the erudite color man on Blast broadcasts, insists that the MISL owners have failed to see the light. All of soccer's ills - indoors and outdoors - can be solved with three little words (Hide your eyes kiddies ) - "a point spread."
"If you don't have a betting line, soccer will never be big league," Eckman said, "and I've learned to love this game." He might also have noted that it was the soccer pools that made the game so popular in England . Without the pools, outdoor soccer would be as exciting as cricket."
Morning Sun Newspaper, by Alan Goldstein

October 28, 1984 -Sunday Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA, by Roger Quigley. "When Charlie Eckman speaks, everyone listens"..."When Charlie Eckman speaks, he speaks, and speaks, and speaks, and speaks. Give him a microphone and his eyes light up. And a smile quickly pastes itself across its face. All except the corner of his mouth which already has been rented to his omnipresent cigar. Wherever Eckman goes he commands center stage. Charlie has been the Master of Ceremonies for the World Series of Handicapping for the past eight years. The first year, he was a contestant and finished second. The following year, he became the MC and the rest is history.

February 23, 1985 - The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, OH by Bob Dolgan. "Blast broadcaster a blast of fresh air....It is refreshing to talk to Charley Eckman, sportscaster for the Baltimore Blast soccer team. Everybody else in the Major Indoor Soccer League is bent on telling you how great the sport is doing, how it is catching on as a big-time game. Eckman is different. He says the MISL, which is holding its All-Star Game here tomorrow, has big problems.
"The NY and LA teams are on the verge of bailing out of the league," he said yesterday. "We're at a crossroads. In three years we could be playing in all the medium and small towns in America . We're a middle-class American sport, fighting for big-league status. Nobody's going to make much money. We can't keep going the way we are. We need vision. Eckman may be the only play-by-play sportscaster in America who has the courage to talk this way."


February 10, 1985 - "A Type O Star is Born...WFBR's veteran sportscaster Charlie Eckman has been cast to play the ringmaster in a multimillion-dollar production by Bob Harris, local entrepreneur turned filmmaker, called "BLOOD CIRCUS", which they're shooting on location at the Civic Center this weekend. Charlie tells us the script is like Rocky III - "only better," he laughs. Sun Newspaper by Laura Charles

WFBR sportscaster Charlie Eckman


February 11, 1985 -"Blood Circus"..."Too little carnage to satisfy crowd"...As technical problems and camera actions repeatedly interrupted or delayed whatever action was supposed to take place in the ring, embittered fans clotted into groups and harassed WFBR sportscaster Charlie Eckman, who plays the part of the ringmaster in the film. "Give us our money back," screamed one man... "You never had any money to begin with. How can we give it back?" countered Mr. Eckman. And later, holding out an olive branch to the alienated, Mr. Eckman urged fans to be patient: "Remember, we're trying to make a film here. But in a few minutes, you'll see heads and legs ripped off and thrown out into the seats. Maybe you'll even get a little blood on you." The Sun Newspaper by David Simon

"Charley Eckman: He's given sports his all" April 14, 1985, The Arundel Sun, by Pat O'Malley

"Sportscaster Charlie Eckman's career is deserving of recognition by the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame. Among other accomplishments, he excelled in three sports at City College high school in Baltimore ."

"Sports columnist Pat O'Malley feels it's a crime that Charlie Eckman, of Glen Burnie, has been excluded thus far from Maryland 's sports Hall of Fame. He's the only man to both coach and referee an NBA All-Star game and is a well-known sportscaster who now does color for Baltimore Blast soccer games. O'Malley contends Eckman's no-holds-barred commentary may have kept the hall doors closed. "The guy has done it all, yet continues to be overlooked by the prestigious hall."

Good Time ChollyGood Time Cholly


 



December 15, 1985 - "ECKMAN - Good Time Cholly has done it all, and he'll gladly tell you all about it. There is barely more to Charlie Eckman than meets the ear. If he isn't the world's greatest living orator, he's certainly among the more eager. This is a man who, at age 64, has done more (talking) than most could do in 264 years, a man who could spend the next 64 years talking about those first 64, a man who makes life sound like a whistle-stop tour through every small town and big city before sundown. And it's worth the ride."

"But there are probably those among the younger generation that will know him only as a sports commentator for WFBR-AM, the esoteric color man for the MISL's Blast, with a voice pattern that, if tracked on paper, might look something like a line graph detailing the price of gold since 1849. Yes, he has his critics. Yes, he has no peers. Welcome to the land of Good Time Cholly." The News American, Baltimore, MD by John Hawkins

Charlie Eckman celebrated 20 years of broadcasting December 29, 1985, The Sun, by Laura Charles "Charlie Eckman celebrated 20 years of broadcasting."

"MISL Officials would be wise to take a lesson from Eckman"....February 26, 1986 -The Evening Sun, by Sandra McKee. "If Charlie Eckman is allowed to give some advice to MISL officials, one of the first things he will tell them is "don't go looking for trouble. To be a good official, you've got to have a technique," said Eckman, who has spent 38 years refereeing, coaching and watching professional and college sports events. "You've got to have dialogue on the field between officials, players and coaches. You've got to have common sense, guts and good judgment."
"Eckman, who does the color commentary for the radio coverage of Blast games, is well known around Baltimore for telling it like it is. If his audience doesn't like what he has to say, it can "call a cab." Yesterday, Blast coach Kenny Cooper suggested to MISL directors that Eckman be invited to share his refereeing knowledge with league officials at their summer seminars. Eckman said the officials in Sunday's game in Baltimore "made a tough game out of a piece of pie because they were too officious and didn't have a feel for the game."

Feb 11, 1987 - Letter from William Donald Schaefer, Governor of Maryland . ( City College classmate) "You are the greatest ...shows what "old" city can do."

May 13, 1987 - "A Baltimore Character"-Roasted at Martin's West ...a guy said to me, Charlie Eckman, which had me in ready agreement. Eckman is a local treasure and, later this month, he will be roasted by the Saints and Sinners at a Martin's West gala. This is good since it will serve as a reminder of Eckman's status as a Baltimore character, which is exactly what characters need: increased exposure." Evening Sun papers by Dan Rodericks,

May 22, 1987 - Saints & Sinners Roast ...Charley was Roasted Very Well...

Charley with his Uncle Ray Eckman.

Charley with his Uncle Ray Eckman.

May 26, 1987 - The Evening Sun, by Sylvia Badger..."Charley Eckman takes his lumps and delivers some... Charley Eckman had agreed to be the Fall Guy for the Saint's & Sinners of Baltimore luncheon. I knew it would be funny but it was almost impossible to report especially with such a great panel of roasters. I'm sure none could have been funnier than Eckman. Laughter reigned at Martin's West last Friday as Roasters blistered Eckman and Eckman rebutted. Charley's rebuttal was pure Eckman, a true Baltimore character. If he loves you, he loves you, but if you cross him, he doesn't forget, and obviously someone at Pimlico has crossed Charley. He told one and all that if he wasn't good enough to make a commercial for that track, then he'd spend his money at Delaware Park . So there..."

May 1987 - Personal letter from Billy Packer - providing a list of Basketball Hall Of Fame Members for Charley's application.

June 5, 1987 - Letter from Governor William D. Schaefer, State of Maryland, asking Charlie for a resume for a future job promoting all sports, pro and amateur, in Maryland ."

June 30, 1987 -"Charley Eckman shuts off his mike and calls a cab." The Sun Papers by Michael Olesker. "For Eckman, who shuts down his WFBR radio microphone today after two decades, life has always been a very simple game. Can you get more elemental than this? The Pistons were playing the NY Knicks one night, and getting killed by a guy who obviously hadn't showered in recent days. "Take me out," said a fellow named Larry Foust, who was guarding the offensive one. "I can't stand it any longer." "Put me in," said a reserve named Bob Houbregs. "I got a broken nose, I can't smell a thing." "So we won," Eckman remembered years later, "and I became coach of the year." The guy who'll replace him at WFBR is Doug Vair, 37 out of Austin, TX. Yesterday, Vair was comparing himself to Phil Bengtsten. Bengtsten was the Green Bay Packer coach who replaced the legendary Vince Lombardi, without success. "Nah," Charley Eckman said "Vair will be fine. All he has to be is himself." It worked pretty well for Charley."

Eckman's voice will be missed


July 11, 1987 -"Eckman's voice will be missed". "I didn't hear the loud, gravelly voice of Charley Eckman on WFBR-AM this morning. No one else did either. Charlie retired from broadcasting June 30, 1987. He had an opinion on everything that happened in sports and he let everyone know how he felt whether or not it was a popular belief. Sports fans loved to agree or disagree with Charley. That's what made him the personality he is. Many of his comments would make me laugh out loud. If you've ever been driving along and seen a person, alone in a car, laughing hysterically, you know what I mean when I say he made people look strangely at me. Charley made me laugh often." "He also made me holler back at his comments on more than a few occasions. Eckman has been an "insider" in sports for a long while. Charley knows the intricacies of the sports world better than most broadcasters. Better than his public might have realized."
"Charley Eckman was the blue-collar sports fan's dream. He didn't sound suave or sickeningly smooth like so many radio people. He didn't just read the scores of games or the words written by someone a thousand miles away. Eckman said what he felt when and how he felt like saying it. He talked to his listeners like he was standing on the corner or sitting at the bar with you. There was never any doubt that Eckman loved "Ball-ti-more," as he would say. He was one of the guys."


"This area will miss hearing the ranting and raving of one of its last real radio personalities, Charley Eckman." Maryland Gazette, by Joe Gross

August 1987, John Steadman of The Sun writes - "Eckman calls a cab, and rides off into the sunset"..."Nothing was ever gift-wrapped for Charley Eckman, who found that the steep bridge to success was locating a radio station that would power his words to a listening public that either had to become conditioned to the shock treatment he purveyed or else turn him off. Being soft-spoken or tentative wasn't his style."

Eckman got your attention. His voice thundered a mix of strong and at times bizarre opinions that steam-rolled across the air waves

"Eckman got your attention. His voice thundered a mix of strong and at times bizarre opinions that steam-rolled across the air waves. Now, after 25 years of commenting on the state of Baltimore and Maryland sports, he is retiring from station WFBR."
"His Baltimore background made his audience realize he knew the subject he was admiring or attacking - even if the audience didn't agree. Eckman never tried to clean up his act, as they say in show biz, but persisted in doing a sports show the way he preferred. It was like an opinionated man shouting in a bar - except he was being paid for what he was saying."
"It has been a life of hard work; no handouts. Charley has been a master of the cliche, or, put another way, he leans on an expression so often he turns it into pure Eckmanism. To dismiss a topic, he would bellow: "Call a Cab." Or if he was particularly annoyed, he would correct himself to add, "No, make it two cabs."
"Such basic lines as "This is more fun than the movies" is the way he momentarily backs off to observe the scene that surrounds him. And when he added, "It's a very simple game," it's merely to emphasize a point in passing. The Eckman heard on radio is the same as you meet at the race track, on the street or in a restaurant - brash, bold and brackish.
"Asked what would have happened if he had the opportunity to study for a college degree, he smiled and answered, "I would have been dangerous. But I've probably been to most of the major colleges in the country. Yeah, the students all paid their way in the gyms to see me referee basketball games, so how smart can they be?"
"An extraordinary element to Eckman is his ability to identify individuals and connect them to a name. He claims it's because "God gave me a retentive mind." He classifies those he knows in two distinct categories. They are either 'right guys" or "no good (bleep) slobs." Where loyalty to friends is concerned, there's no stronger ally. But he expects the same, nothing less, from those he has befriended."
"On the radio, Eckman was a strong link to Baltimore sports history and the players of yesteryear. He announced marriages, funerals, christenings and bar mitzvahs. And he made most of them feel after an Eckman testimonial, as though they had been elected to the Hall of Fame. " On radio broadcasts, he always said what jumped into his mind."
"Hell, any monkey can read a script. That's not being a sportscaster," he said. "I look at a story, or a game, and interpret it my way. There is no record of Eckman's ever having been intimidated - and certainly not inhibited. His broadcasts were ad-libbed, right off the top of his head. His mind is sharp and, of course, quick to formulate an opinion. What he has to say is never uttered in a whisper, whether it's behind a studio microphone or before a banquet audience. He likes being paid for giving speeches but there never has been a time he insisted on an honorarium if the request came from a church, group or a youth club."
"Being around Eckman, even for five minutes, makes you realize that virtually everything he wanted to remember has been programmed and stored for instant recall. Charley Eckman has an individuality, right or wrong, endearing or burdensome, that enables him to stand alone."


August 1987 -"Charley Eckman shuts off his mike and calls a cab"..."For the last 20 years, on the radio, he's been the mouth that roared, ad-libbing his way through sports and other little slices of life. He was the Irrepressible One. Whatever's going on inside Eckman's head is rapidly communicated to the immediate world. He talks to thousands at a time over the radio, but the ambiance is always a couple of guys in a bar. Some have called him the "poor man's Casey Stengel", a man who fractures the language but makes it work. He's energetic, irreverent, and impulsive. He's 65 now and said yesterday he's quitting the business because, "I'm tired of getting up at a quarter to five." What made him unique, Eckman said, was "I've always been myself. I don't follow the pack." The Sunday Capital, Annapolis, MD by Paul Girsdansky.

The Charley Eckman Handicapping Classic

September 17, 1987, "The Charley Eckman Handicapping Classic" at Delaware Park .

November 22, 1987 - The Sunday Capital by Paul Girsdansky: "Charlie Eckman's UPS and DOWNS ...I guess I always was afraid that no one would notice me. I wanted to be somebody so bad I could taste it." Charles Markwood Eckman, a self-professed hustler, never became president, and he never got to Hollywood . But Eckman, a Glen Burnie resident, the man with more ups and downs than a roller coaster, became a somebody."

Eckman got his picture in the newspaper dozens of times

"Eckman got his picture in the newspaper dozens of times. Hundreds of thousands of people saw him in action. His name was known across the nation...and Eckman is one heck of a trivia question...."TRIVIAL PURSUIT, that is".... Who was the only person to be both a referee in an NBA All-Star game and coach in an NBA All-Star game?
Baltimore Sun by Michael Olesker, 1988 -"Sports Adviser Makes a Mockery of His Retirement"....
"Charlie Eckman is ad-libbing his way through a noontime in Little Italy with all the subtlety of brass bands. Waving a cigar like a man orchestrating his own monologue, Eckman is pausing between episodes in what is laughingly called his "retirement", doing TV commercials for seven different companies, hosting a World Series of Handicapping at two out-of-state racetracks, lecturing here and there, raising decibel levels everywhere, serving as consultant to the governor of Maryland on sports.

Around the table, everybody laughs. Eckman carried a good time into a room. Governor Schaefer knew Eckman as a shrewdie, a fellow with a near-photographic memory for details and a life history of absorbing every inch of the business of sports. Always, he turned the business into a party.

The quintessential Eckman story is still the time he officiated NC State and North Carolina and Coach Dean Smith put in his four-corner stall. "Guys are standing there, holding the ball instead of playing." Eckman remembers. "I said to myself, "What am I doing here?' I go to the press bench and ask for a chair. They look at me like I'm crazy. I said, "Just give me a chair." He took the chair out to the middle of the floor and sat himself down to watch. The crowd, equally miffed at the non-action on the court, cheered him wildly. "I said, Hey you ain't playing. I ain't refereeing. If you start to play, let me know."
And with that, Eckman puffs deeply on a cigar of a noontime in Little Italy, and is warmed by the memory of that long-ago moment. Shy, he never was. Quiet, he never was. Retiring, he never could be." Baltimore Sun papers by Michael Olesker

When Charlie Eckman discusses his NBA coaching career he describes it as a "four-year vacation." June 18, 1988 - "Glen Burnie's Charlie Eckman recalls time as Pistons coach" (Current NBA series between Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles brought back old memories from Charley). When Charlie Eckman discusses his NBA coaching career he describes it as a "four-year vacation." Maryland Gazette by David Grening


July 13, 1988 -Anne Arundel Count Sun by Pat O'Malley, "Could Charlie Eckman save dying MISL?" (Current MISL commissioner Bill Kentling of Wichita is on the hot seat and rumored to be on the way out). "Vibrant personality, bright ideas would be just the ticket, says columnist. Even with The Major Indoor Soccer League down from an eight-count only six teams remain in the league, including the Baltimore Blast - its chances of getting back up off the deck and scoring a KO are as close as Georgia Avenue in Glen Burnie. That's where the incomparable Charles Markwood Eckman resides. Before you laugh, the best move the MISL could make would be to offer Charlie "You can call two cabs," Eckman the job of league commissioner. If anyone could save this fast-sinking circuit by pumping life into it, Eckman - with his gregarious and outspoken nature - could."
"Eckman would be the most outrageous commissioner in all of sports - but probably the one with the most common sense. When it comes to telling it like it is and recognizing where the problems are, no one can match Eckman. Eckman's ties to soccer extend back to 1930's, when he played the sport at City College in Baltimore "

"Someone close to Art Wolstein, who owns the Cleveland Force and has a lot of weight in the league, felt me out recently to see if I was interested and to see what I would do to make the league go. I saw the guy at Penn National Race Track, where I run the World Series of Handicapping." "People love scoring. The guy who thought up six points for a touchdown in football, plus an extra point and three points for a field goal, two points for a safety, was a genius."
"People love to bet on games, and the point spread makes it all possible." Eckman said. No doubt about that. Americans love to take a chance. They love to gamble, whether it involves calling Vegas, calling their bookie or taking part in one of those little office pools. That's what makes pro sports flourish, the fun of betting on your favorite team and seeing it win."
"The league really needs someone to promote its product, and who better than Eckman? He would be to the MISL what the Tigers' Sparkey Anderson is to baseball - non-stop PR. Eckman literally lights up the joint when he walks into a place."

Charlie Eckman, the bullhorn-voiced master of ceremonies from Baltimore

October 22, 1988 - The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, PA..."Some things have remained constant over 12 years at the Penn National Race Course World Series of Handicapping ....Charlie Eckman, the bullhorn-voiced master of ceremonies from Baltimore , is still around. Eckman holds court form a small stage set up in the middle of the contest area. Nobody has yet to come up with a word or phrase to describe him. His blend of humor, good-natured insults, insights and observations is a show in itself. When he gets rolling, it's a good idea to duck, or have a camcorder ready to get it on tape."

March 16, 1989 - Letter from Epilepsy Association of MD..."thanking Charlie for helping with their fund raiser."

1989 - The Sun by Michael Olesker. "Sports Adviser Makes A Mockery Of His Retirement... Charlie Eckman is ad-libbing his way through a noontime in Little Italy with all the subtlety of brass bands. Lunching at Sabatino's, waving a cigar like a man orchestrating his own monologue, Eckman is pausing between episodes in what is laughingly called his "retirement"; doing TV commercials for seven different companies, hosting a World Series of Handicapping at two out-of-state racetracks, lecturing here and there, raising decibel levels everywhere, serving as consultant to the governor of Maryland on sports."
Charley has a near-photographic memory for details and a life history of absorbing every inch of the business of sports
"Around the table, everybody laughs. Eckman carries a good time into a room. After a few decades of coaching and a few decades refereeing and a few decades broadcasting sports, he says he's been discovered like a brand new debutante. "I'm hotter than a $3 bill," he declares, while a waitress patiently hovers over him. Charley has a near-photographic memory for details and a life history of absorbing every inch of the business of sports. Always, he turned the business into a party. And with all the stories, Eckman puffs deeply on a cigar of a noontime in Little Italy, and is warmed by the memories of long-ago moments."


The Olympics Salute

Charlie Eckman (left) of Glen Burnie, sports commentator and former basketball coach, was master of ceremonies for The Olympics Salute. The U.S. Postal Service is an official sponsor of the Olympics and the banner will fly over the Glen Burnie Office during the games.


Everyone loves a parade

"Everyone loves a parade
and so does Charley."