Rory Markas, who was given his dream job as full-time Angels TV play-by-play just two months ago, died at his Palmdale home late Monday. The radio play-by-play voice of USC basketball was 54.
Markas brother, Gary, confirmed the news at Rory’s home this morning and said there was no official cause of death.
Rory Markas suffered an blood clot in his brain that resulted in emergency surgery back in Nov., 2008, He returned to broadcasting two months later.
Markas, a Chatsworth High and Cal State Northridge grad who also attended L.A. Valley College, has been with the Angels for the last eight seasons, both on TV and radio — starting when the team won the 2002 World Series.
His run with USC started in 1997.
From 1994-97, he was also the voice of the Clippers’ radio broadcasts. The former KCBS-Channel 2 and KNX-AM (1070) sportscaster was also a regular on the Fox “Good Day L.A.” morning program on KTTV-Channel 11.
A baseball broadcasting career was the one he persued most over the last two decades.
He did the Milwaukee Brewers’ TV games (1992-94) and worked on the Brewers’ radio games from ’84-94. Before that, he spent six seasons doing the Salt Lake City Gulls of the Pacific Coast League, and three years with the Vancouver Canadians.
With the Angels, Markas catch-phrase, “Just another Halo victory!” puncutated the dramatic victories the team had during a surprise run to the World Series as a wild-card team. The franchised used it eventually on T-shirts sold at the Angel Stadium store.
Markas’ call of the final out of the 2002 World Series is also memorable:
“ERSTAD SAYS HE’S GOT IT. ERSTAD MAKES THE CATCH. THE ANAHEIM ANGELS ARE THE CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL.”
“I get choked up,” Markas said a season later when recalling that play. “It meant a lot to me to be entrusted to bring those moments to the fans.”
For the last couple of years, the Angels experimented with different broadcast teams, putting Markas with former pitcher Mark Gubicza as a team on half the TV games. Markas would do radio for the other half with Terry Smith.
Over Thanksgiving week, the Angels decided to go fulltime with the Markas-Gubicza team, which resulted in the unfortunate firing of Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler. Smith and Jose Mota is the new full-time radio team.
Markas won three Golden Mike Awards for radio reporting, and two Associated Press Sportscasting Awards. He also received the 2008 Radio Play-by-Play Award from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.
The San Fernando Valley native is survived by his mother, Billie and brothers, Gary and Troy.
Here is a link to a feature we did on Rory in Feb., 2008, when we included him high in the Top 10 of our annual Sports Play-by-Play rankings (linked here). Last February, we did a feature on Gubicza, where Markas talked about how well they worked together in the booth (linked here).