On Saturday morning, I found a record I’ve long been seeking. Alas, only a few of you are going to dig it as much as I do.
Long ago, on clear Wisconsin winter nights, I’d listen to NBA games and ABA games on powerful clear-channel radio stations.
Most often, I’d listen to Milwaukee Bucks games called by the best basketball announcer ever, a guy named Eddie Doucette. He was a young, fast-talking former DJ who called the Bucks from their inception in 1968 until 1984.
I learned basketball from Eddie Doucette. His language became mine. I wasn’t the only one, either. Doucette had so many nicknames for players, and so many ways to describe the action, that they published “Doucette’s Dictionary,” a pamphlet they mailed to anyone who asked for it. I still have mine. It was sent to me on Jan. 6, 1973.
What I did not have, and what I’ve long been seeking, was a record narrated by Eddie Doucette. This record.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Fleetwood Recording Co. of Revere, Massachusetts, cut commemorative albums for the pro sports champions of the day. They sold them by mail, often advertising them in sports magazines.
After the Bucks won the NBA championship in April 1971, Fleetwood produced a record narrated by Doucette. It featured excerpts of his radio calls from that season.
My search for it ended Saturday at my friend’s garage sale.
This record brings back so many great memories. It’s bittersweet, too. When the ’80s ended, so did my passion for the NBA. The game changed, and not for the better. These days, it’s unwatchable.
But if you remember Eddie Doucette or the Bucks’ glory days, or if you just appreciate vintage sports broadcasts, you may dig these excerpts.
These are snippets from two memorable games. The Bucks win big, of course. In the former, Baltimore’s Gus “Honeycomb” Johnson shatters a backboard. In the latter, Dick “Cement Mixer” Cunningham gets into a fight with Levi Fontaine of the San Francisco Warriors.