Ted Patterson, the sportscaster recalled for his encyclopedia-like memory of past games and players, died of Parkinson’s disease and associated dementia Thursday at Springwell Senior Living in Mount Washington.
He was 76 and had lived in Anneslie, where he housed his collection of sports memorabilia and history.
Mr. Patterson arrived in Baltimore in 1973 and started at WBAL Radio. He did afternoon sports news and had an evening call-in show described as Baltimore’s first regularly scheduled sports talk show.
His son, Michael Theodore Patterson, said Mr. Patterson learned of the job opening from former Orioles play-by-play man Ernie Harwell.
“Ted was one of the most knowledgeable sportscasters around. He began his career in Boston writing and researching for [sportscaster] Curt Gowdy every morning,” said Tom Lattanzi, a WBAL Radio colleague. “Curt depended on Ted for accuracy each day and Ted came through. Ted was a very top sportscaster and a super friend and neighbor.”
Said WBAL Radio’s Scott Wykoff: “Growing up in Cleveland in the ’70s I was a huge sports fan and I remember Ted broadcasting the Cavalier [NBA] and Crusaders [World Hockey Association] games. So when I started at WBAL Radio, it was a big thrill and huge honor covering the Ravens, Orioles and the Preakness as a member of the Baltimore media side by side with one of my boyhood broadcasting heroes.
“Even though we worked at competing stations, Ted looked out for me when I started in Baltimore and often even told me how much he enjoyed listening to me. Pretty cool stuff from someone who you grew up listening to and aspiring to be just like. And in his last few years we were all more than glad to return the favor and look out for him.”
Mr. Patterson said he got a thrill in 1971 when while working for Gowdy he interviewed Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in modern Major League Baseball. The interview was later rebroadcast on “WBAL Radio with John Patti.”
Mr. Patterson moved to WMAR-TV in 1980. He announced 16 Orioles games a year on the Super TV channel in 1982 and 1983 alongside color analyst Rex Barney.
Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Mr. Patterson was the son of Theodore Ross and Helen Rita Stuhldreher. He was a 1962 graduate of Saint Peter’s High School, also in Mansfield.
“Ted was one of the best and he was unique. He was a good play-by-play guy and when he had to be a color analyst, he knew how to change direction,” said Frank DiVenti, a former freelance radio sports producer and engineer. “He could talk of just about anything. Ted’s extensive knowledge of history could help him in an interview, which is a big part of our business.
“He could absorb information like a sponge. It was fun to watch him in action. He’d be at an away Navy-Notre Dame game and we’d have a halftime guest, a vet player who had been around a long while. They’d be taken aback at how much Ted knew about him and his career. The breed of a Ted Patterson is hard to find. Without computers, he absorbed information. He was incredibly well-read, and he went out of his way to do it.”
Mr. Patterson announced Navy basketball games during soon-to-be NBA star David Robinson’s senior year in 1986-87.
He reported early-morning sports on WPOC, 93.1-FM Radio and later transitioned to afternoon news, from 1984 through the mid-1990s.
He broadcast for the Baltimore Blast and Baltimore Spirit indoor soccer teams on the radio, and was ESPN Radio’s “NFL GameDay” Baltimore correspondent.
Mr. Patterson served as sports director for WCBM-AM 680 Radio from 2000 until his 2011 retirement.
His son said Mr. Patterson didn’t miss an Orioles home Opening Day game from 1973 through 2016.
Mr. Patterson wrote sports histories, including “Football in Baltimore,” “The Baltimore Orioles: Four Decades of Magic from 33rd Street to Camden Yards” and “The Golden Voices of Baseball.”
A lifelong sports memorabilia collector, he called his collection “Cooperstown South.”
Mr. Patterson owned the jersey worn by catcher Ray Fosse the day Pete Rose collided violently into him at home plate in the 1970 All-Star Game. Fosse suffered a fractured and separated shoulder.
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“It was a prized possession,” his son said. “He had it mounted on a mannequin.”
A 2014 Towson Times article said: “Patterson’s entire life has been consumed by sports — and that goes for his Towson residence, too, which is overflowing with baseball, football and boxing memorabilia — some of which dates back to the 19th century.
“Posters, photos, media guides, pins, figurines, programs, game boards, buttons, uniforms and hats are strewn about in every room of the house, with the possible exception of the kitchen.”
Mr. DiVenti, the radio sports producer, said, “Ted’s life holdings were so enormous it demonstrated the energy and effort to really be a collector. I was in awe of it all.”
Mr. Patterson was a member Saint Pius X, where his funeral is being planned for the spring.