On Friday 5 August 1921, Pittsburgh radio station KDKA became the first to broadcast a sporting event, a day baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Narrating the events was Mr Harold Arlin, a pioneer nicknamed the “Voice of America”, and considered to be the first full-time salaried radio announcer. Publicity photos from the era show him kitted out in a full tuxedo, which to modern eyes seems like a bit of sartorial overkill for a non-visual medium.
Nonetheless, the standard was set. Henceforth, sportscasters would wear jackets and ties. (In more recent times, one can occasionally spy a polo shirt and other more casual attire in the broadcast booth, but such moments remain the exception rather than the rule.) Given its simplicity, it would seem a difficult uniform to mess up, and yet one only need watch this weekend’s return of Fox NFL Sunday to learn otherwise. There, you will see lapels that are too large (or too small). You will see bedsheet-sized pocket squares. You will see paisley on a scale not witnessed since the heyday of Haight-Ashbury.
So when a sportscaster manages to get it right, with that elusive mix of sartorial panache and a raconteur’s gift of gab, we feel duty-bound to sing his praises. Here, we present the most stylish broadcasters of all-time. The men who dress to impress, even though they know all eyes are on the field.