Growing up in Fort Dodge as the son of a grocery store and
tavern owner, Gene had no real desire to get into broadcasting as a youngster. Participating in high school baseball, basketball, and football
were his interests at the time. Having been born at about the same time that radio was becoming a national phenomena, Gene grew in interest to try his hand in radio. As an 18-year
old with no actual experience, he wrote to the management of the local radio station KVFD in Fort Dodge, Iowa asking for a job, received an audition call, and was hired. While working with the local station his first chance of broadcasting came in 1942 just prior to his entering the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was asked to broadcast an exhibition game between the Chicago Cubs and White Sox who had been asked to come to Fort Dodge to play an exhibition game.
After leaving the Navy in 1944, Gene returned to the KVFD radio station in Fort Dodge and worked at several other small radio stations in the area during that period, finally taking on a permanent job at WRRN radio in Warren, Ohio. From there, Gene got his break when he went to WJW in Cleveland, Ohio to handle color for the Cleveland Rams of the National Football League.
Gene's baseball broadcasting career began in 1946 when he broadcast games for the Waterloo, Iowa minor league team of the Three I League.
It was in 1954 when Gene finally got his break in the Major Leagues hiring on as the number 2 man broadcasting games for the
Chicago Cubs, and later on in 1958 doing the Mutual "Game of the Day" with Bob Feller.
In 1960, Cincinnati Reds GM Gabe Paul contacted Gene about a job with the Reds, who had decided to start broadcasting games on TV. During the
off-season of the same year, Gabe was contacted by the new Major
League franchise in Houston, The Colt .45s, to take over duties as
General Manager of that new franchise. Shortly after accepting that position Gabe contacted Gene again and asked him if he would prefer going to Houston to take over broadcasting duties for the Colt
.45s in 1962. After agreeing to move to Houston, Gene broadcast the final season of the Houston Buffs minor league team in 1961 before taking on the job of calling games for the new Houston
Major League franchise where he remained as lead broadcaster for the next 25 years.
After leaving the Astros following the 1986 season, Gene worked for CBS Radio doing their CBS radio "Game of the Week" for the next 10 years. Gene retired from broadcasting in 1997 after calling 11 no-hitters in his career, second only to Vin Scully of the LA Dodgers. During his career with the Colt .45's/Astros Gene was named Texas Broadcaster of the Year several times by The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters
Association of America.
Gene was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in
1993 and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2002. While with the Houston Astros, Gene also broadcast other sports during the
off-season including Iowa and Northwestern football games of the Big Ten and the University of Houston, along with the Game of the Week for the Southwest Conference, which included cable TV broadcasts of SWC basketball and football.
Gene has authored three books, That's The Way The Ball
Bounces, A Stitch in Time: A Baseball Chronology: 1845–2002, and his latest title
The Wild World of Sports.
Gene Elston continues to make Houston, Texas his home after moving to Houston in 1961.
(Biography courtesy of James Anderson)
||* Eddie Mathews' 500th career home run.
* 24-inning, one-run marathon between the Astros and Mets April 15, 1968.
* Nolan Ryan's career strikeout number 3,509 on April 27, 1983, topping Walter Johnson's all-time mark.
* Called 11 Major League no-hitters, including Mike Scott's N.L. West clinching effort over the Giants on Sept. 25, 1986.