Jim Hunter, who has served as a play-by-play announcer for Orioles baseball games since 1997, announced Friday that he will not rejoin the team’s broadcasts in 2021 after the club elected to not renew his contract.
“I was informed this week by @Orioles my contract will not be renewed for 2021 ending my career [with] the ball club,” Hunter tweeted. “It’s disappointing to have my tenure come to an end especially since it was not my decision. For 24 years I gave my heart & soul to the broadcasts & now it’s over.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic altered the way games were broadcast during the 2020 season, Hunter was slated for a new role, serving as a regular on-air contributor rather than in a play-by-play role for the Orioles Radio Network and MASN.
In a second tweet, Hunter thanked many of the other broadcasters he worked alongside, including former Orioles Jim Palmer, Ben McDonald, Rick Dempsey and Mike Bordick, as well as longtime Orioles broadcaster Joe Angel.
“I especially want to thank the loyal fans,” Hunter wrote. “It was an honor to bring @Orioles baseball to you. Good luck [to] the team moving ahead and May God Bless us all !!”
Hunter joined the Orioles in 1997 after having worked with CBS Sports Radio since 1982, serving as a member of the network’s crew for the MLB “Game of the Week” since 1986. He also assisted with Olympics and Super Bowl coverage during his time with CBS.
Hunter has served as the emcee of the Orioles’ Opening Day ceremonies, introducing players as they came down the famed orange carpet.
The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association named Hunter the Maryland Sportscaster of the Year in 2002.
The Orioles heavily reshuffled their broadcast team last year, moving Hunter and Tom Davis, the host of the team’s pre- and postgame shows, out of their roles and welcoming in Geoff Arnold, Brett Hollander, Scott Garceau and Melanie Newman — the first female broadcaster in team history.
The pandemic prevented team broadcasters from traveling to road games, leaving them to watch those matchups from monitors at Camden Yards. Gary Thorne and Palmer, the Orioles’ primary play-by-play and analyst duo, were not part of the group of in-person broadcasters the team used in 2020. While Palmer participated in some broadcasts via video calls, Thorne did not appear on an Orioles broadcast in 2020.
The Orioles are expected to announce their full 2021 broadcast group sometime next week, a team representative said.