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Bob Kelley -- the voice of the Rams

October 12, 2008 |  2:00 pm


Bert Convy ... or Dave Brubeck.

1958_october_12_kelley By Keith Thursby
Times staff writer

Too bad I never got the chance to listen to Bob Kelley. Sounds like he was one of a kind.

Kelley was the longtime Ram voice who was only 49 when he died in 1966. He had been with the Rams since they moved to Los Angeles.

How big was Kelley? Here's how Jim Murray described him in a 1961 column: "Kelley became a major figure in the L.A. sport scene, not necessarily a universally popular one because he dealt in controversy. ... Bob was not so good a baseball announcer as football but he blew on the flames of enmity between the old Pacific Coast League Angels and Hollywood Stars so energetically that sellout crowds usually attended the city series and Life Magazine once made a lead story out of a brawl he had fanned."

By 1958, Kelley was splitting his time with the Rams between TV and radio, broadcasting the road games with Gil Stratton on Channel 2. Don Page's story in The Times about Kelley called him one of the best technical announcers in the business--but he also called him controversial.

A big part of the controversy came from his nightly radio show. Murray said the show "made as many people gnash their teeth as cheer. But they listened. His mail was sulphuric. But they wrote."

Kelley spent one season with the Angels' broadcasting team in 1961. Murray's column followed on the news that he resigned from the baseball job. According to Murray, Kelley only got the job by promising no feuds or controversy. To The Times' columnist, that was "like giving a sedative to a fast horse. That made Kelley as dull as the league.

"I personally think it's a damn shame.  Even when I didn't agree with a bloody word he said I was entertained by the way Bob Kelley said it."