Dick Lobdell, legendary broadcaster whose rich, golden voice was heard on Alaska radios for more than 40 years, passed away over the weekend.
He had been ill for quite some time, but he was indeed legendary.
He mostly did play-by-play for sporting events, high school games and University of Alaska Anchorage basketball.
The first time I ever heard him was a couple of weeks after moving to Anchorage in 1981. I tuned into an Anchorage Northern Knights game. The Knights were a team in the Continental Basketball Association. The team played its games at West High. The Knights were fairly successful and drew big crowds to the gym.
The Knights were a minor league team, but with the knowledgeable Lobdell behind the mic, it sounded like you were listening to a Lakers game at the Forum.
While he could handle any sport, Lobdell was best known for calling Anchorage Glacier Pilots baseball games.
His silky-smooth voice was synonymous with Anchorage summer nights, Mulcahy Stadium, Home Brew Ally and the Pilots.
He was so good to listen to. He knew the players, told great stories, and was always on top of what was happening on the field. Many of us thought Dick could do Major League Baseball with no problem. I was told once that he had an offer from a pro team but, turned it down because he didn't want to leave Alaska. I don't know if that was true, but I could easily believe it.
As someone who's had the opportunity to call sporting events over the years I thought of Lobdell as a mentor. I tried to emulate his style, but soon found that impossible. There's only one person who could call a game like he was sitting in your living room and just talking to you. That was Dick.
Dick once told me that his idea of a perfect day was sitting on a park bench at Westchester Lagoon on a warm summer day, smoking a good cigar and reading the newest edition of the "Sporting News."
I think that's what made him so special. He was the same guy away from the mic as he was behind it. Easy going, laid back, just a friend talking to other friends.
We will miss our friend Dick Lobdell.