Long-time radio announcers Denny Matthews and Fred White of the Kansas City Royals were baseball's version of The Odd Couple, with their differences often shining through their broadcasts. The phrase long-time may not be fair, or accurate, to describe the tenure for these voices. The 1998 season marked the 25th year Matthews and White were on the air together, making them, at that time, the longest-running broadcast crew in the American League. In the National League, they were surpassed only by Jack Buck and Mike Shannon (and only by two years) of the St. Louis Cardinals. (Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall of the Cincinnati Reds also celebrated their 25th anniversary together in 1998.)
If a calculator was put to task, it could be said that Matthews and White did approximately 4,050 games together; or, based on an average three hour game in the American League (although lately they've been more like three-and-a-half hours), the two logged-in about 12,150 hours of play-by-play together. Can you imagine working with same person, day-in and day-out in a small office for 25 years? Not many of us can. The 1998 season also marked their final season together, as White's handshake contract was not renewed after the season. The news of White's dismissal sent shock waves to Royals' fans, and nearly incited a listener riot.
To many, the news came as a shock because in a business that tends to breed egos the size of the Truman Sports Complex, White and Matthews have everything but egos. Baseball radio announcers are a special brand of broadcasters. In this day and age of cable television, it takes a unique person to become a good radio broadcaster, let alone become a great one. To many Royals' fans, Denny and Fred (as they were known to their listeners) are great. For a quarter-century, Denny Matthews and Fred White formed a special bond with their listeners, partly dictated by tenure together and the length of an average American League game, but also by the pair's laid-back, smooth approach to each broadcast.