Tributes Pour In For Legendary WBZ Sportscaster Gil Santos

Gil Santos, WBZ NewsRadio1030 Sports Anchor (1938-2018)

BOSTON, MA (WBZ-AM) –  Gil Santos, legendary sports broadcaster for WBZ NewsRadio1030 and the New England Patriots for more than 38  years, died Thursday on his 80th birthday and his 57th wedding anniversary to his wife Roberta.

As news broke of Gil passing, tributes honoring him poured in online and over the airways overnight.

Gary LaPierre, former morning drive anchor on WBZ, worked with Santos for over 30 years before retiring in 2006. He fondly remembered his friend.

“He was, probably, my closest friend, a cantankerous colleague in the newsroom over the course of those 30+ years. I just loved the man.”

[Related Audio : WBZ's Gary LaPierre Remembers Gil Santos | Full Interview]

LaPierre said that every day was a new experience working alongside Santos in the newsroom.

A fixture in the WBZ NewsRadio1030 newsroom, Santos was known for producing his entire sportscasts using a manual typewriter.

The typewriter used by Gil Santos while he was at WBZ NewsRadio1030 (Credit: WBZ-TV/WBZ NewsRadio1030)

Over the years as technology evolved in the newsroom, he refused to use a computer.

“Every day was an experience with Gil Santos. He was an independent guy but, yet, a very loyal guy to the people that he worked with. He was a knowledgeable guy. He was old-fashioned in so many ways because he, God rest him, he has died with a manual typewriter still sitting behind his desk, I’m sure,” LaPierre said. 

“At the same time, there was none better when it came to his knowledge of and his ability to describe what’s going on in professional football today,” he said.

Gil Santos and Gary Lapierre inducted into the WBZ Hall of Fame (Credit: WBZ NewsRadio1030)

LaPierre also called on with his play-by-play distinctive delivery.

“Barring none, I just hope that the people in New England understand that they just lost the best play by play guy in the history of the National Football League. That’s how good he was, as a play by play guy. As a sports guy, what he did with me, in the morning and that sort of thing on WBZ, that’s one thing. But, I think his mark in the industry – broadcast journalism – is as a play by play guy for the National Football League. Ask Tom Brady, ask anybody in the last 30 years, who played football in the NFL, and they’ll tell you that he was the best in the country.”

LaPierre added that he lost a dear friend.

Other tributes poured in from industry colleagues.

From Tom Cuddy, WBZ-AM Afternoon Sports Anchor

“He was my friend, probably my mentor. I knew him, I was working at a different station in Boston. One day, he called me and said ‘You wanna work better hours?’ So, other than being responsible for my career… He was a wonderful man – very bright, very articulate. Very well read. His play by play, off the scale,” Cuddy said.

[Related Audio: Tom Cuddy Remembers Gil Santos | Full Interview]

From Adam Kaufman, WBZ-AM Morning Sports Anchor 

"Rest In Peace, Gil. I always enjoyed our chats. @wbznewsradio won’t be the same without you tomorrow, or any time soon after."

From Bob Socci, play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots on WBZ-FM

"Gil offered constructive criticism, naturally, but also had enough good things to say to help me believe I too might call NFL games someday. A year later, @985TheSportsHub launched and Gil helped to point me to a door to knock on. When he retired, that door opened."

Santos is the second-longest-tenured announcer in NFL history, behind Merrill Reese, he was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2013, having called 745 games and three Super Bowl victories for the team over 36 seasons. Santos covered 13 Pro Sports Championships.

He was inducted in the WBZ Hall of Fame in 2009 and the New  England Broadcasters of Hall of Fame in 2013.

New England Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement on Santos's death.

Bill Belichick, Patriots Head Coach

Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports Director

“The legendary Gil Santos touched so many lives. Generations hold dear the sound of his voice. R.I.P. and God Bless the Santos family.“

Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports Anchor/Reporter

“There was so much to live about Gil…Just a consummate pro and you just listened to him and learned from him. He was a pleasure off the air, too. A good, good man…He and I used to talk all the time – I kind of looked at him as a mentor,” Roche said.

[Related Audio: Dan Roche Remembers Gil Santos | Full Interview]

WATCH: Gil Santos Reflects on career as play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots in an interview with WBZ-TV's Dan Roche.

Mike ‘Sarge”Riley, WBZ-FM

"Gil Santos was one of my idols growing up listening to him on WBZ Radio and call #Patriots games. It was an honor to sit in his chair on a part time basis for a couple years at WBZ and he was a class act when I got to meet him in June 2016. RIP”

Photo Gallery: Gil Santos Over The Years

Santos is survived by his wife Roberta, his daughter Kathleen, and his son Mark. Funeral arrangement and memorial are pending.

Stay with WBZ NewsRadio1030 as this story develops.

A Carl Stevens Poem For Gil Santos - Thumbnail Image

A Carl Stevens Poem For Gil Santos

Gil Santos, Legendary New England Sports Broadcaster, Dies at 80 - Thumbnail Image

Gil Santos, Legendary New England Sports Broadcaster, Dies at 80

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