Go TateHe, who was a gymnast in Cleveland for more than four decades, passed away at the age of 83 at his home in Ohio. His daughter confirmed the death, which resulted from many health problems.
The Cavaliers issued the following statement regarding Tate’s death:
“The Cleveland Cavaliers Mourn the death of one of the beloved founding fathers and the franchise’s long-standing original voice – Joe Tate.
“From the team’s inception in 1970 through the next four decades, the Basketball Hall of Fame informed, entertaining and inspiring generations of CAFES fans – painting a picture of the game with an unparalleled combination of passion, precision and humor.
“A dedicated husband and father – honored with his talent and soul – Joe has won every major sports broadcast award there over the course of his career in Northeast Ohio. Like some of the most legendary Cavaliers he has dated, Joe is joined by them with his own banner hanging from the rafters of the Rocket House” Mortgage House.
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“A friend and mentor to many over the years, Joe Tate was not just a member of the Cavaliers; he was as much a part of the Cavs story as everyone else, and his unique and candid voice and perspective resonated throughout the history of the team. We will miss him very much.
Joe was also famous for his dry wit and pragmatic outlook on life and he probably didn’t want a big emotional goodbye. So, to paraphrase the myth, let’s not say, “Goodbye.” Let’s just say: “Have a good night everyone!”
Born in Illinois and graduated from Monmouth College, Tate began broadcasting sports calling for the Ohio Bobcats games, and later soccer at Indiana University.
While at Monmouth, he befriends the principal basketball coach at another small college. This was Bill Fitch, and when he got a job in the NBA, Tate wrote to congratulate him.
Fitch asked Tate to audition for his role as the stage voice for Cleveland Cavaliers Radio. Set with the opening of the 1970 season already underway. He described winning the first team after 15 successive losses.
He briefly spent calling games for the New Jersey Nets and the Chicago Bulls in the early 1980s after a dispute with Cavaliers owner Ted Stepin, but he’s back in the team and has become an integral part of the Cavs culture. His famous phrases included “Strike with his right / left hand!” To the line, to the aisle …, and 3 balls … I get it!
Tate later invited Cleveland Indians baseball on the radio, and turned to television in 1980 to call games on WUAB 43. One of the most notable calls was Tate’s call on May 15, 1981, when Cleveland player Lyn Parker threw a perfect game to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0.