A 40-year thrill-packed chapter with the Twins comes to a close

Dick Bremer didn’t grow up dreaming about becoming a sports broadcaster someday.

But that dream came true anyway.

Bremer announced his retirement from calling games for the Minnesota Twins at the end of October, and said he will move into an ambassador role with the organization. He made the announcement after 40 years in the booth for the Major League Baseball team — a career that saw a number of the franchise’s best players take the field as well as a seat beside Bremer in the booth, and two separate seasons leading to World Series wins.

“It’s a pretty select group of people who get to do what I was blessed to do for 40 years — there are 30 major league teams,” he said. “To be able to do it for the team I grew up following — not many of us have been able to have the team that was so big a part of my childhood, also be a big part of my adulthood.”

Bremer started as a play-by-play television broadcaster for the Twins in 1983. The following year, he’d be joined in the booth by Twins legend Harmon Killebrew. The announcement was only the first of many highlights throughout Bremer’s storied career.

“Harmon was an icon for all of us who spent any time in this region, because he was the first star player for the Twins. And now this man was going to be sitting next to me as I did games starting in the summer of 1984,” he said. “And it’s been one wonderful coincidence like that after another. I’ve gotten a chance to not only know the players — the Kirby Pucketts, people like that, Joe Mauer — but I’ve had so many of them work next to me in the booth, and that’s been just an added thrill in what has been a thrill-packed 40 years.”

Dick Bremer at Twins Hall of Fame ceremonyThe Twins’ 1987 season in particular is another highlight for Bremer. When he started calling games for the team in 1983, he said the Twins had lost 102 games and “were the laughingstock of baseball in 1982.” The fans weren’t connected and the team was struggling. But in the span of five years, the team built itself back up and the fans took notice. After a 17-year playoff drought, the Twins clinched a tie for the division title in the last home game of the regular 1987 season in front of a sellout crowd at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.

Bremer remembers it well.

“The Metrodome was not a very good place to either play baseball or watch it as a fan or as an announcer,” he said. “But on that last Sunday of the regular season in ’87; I think of it, and it’s been a long, long time — over 35 years now — and I still get goosebumps thinking about the significance of the game, the electric moments within the game, and how the team had come so far from when I started in the early ’80s in terms of fans connecting with the team.”

While Bremer didn’t initially set out to be a sports broadcaster, he was led to it by different teachers, professors and advisors in his younger years.

“My high school speech teacher in Staples said I had a very nice voice,” he said. “But I’ve always told people that my voice, to me, sounds the same as your voice to you — nothing extraordinary at all.”

Bremer then went to St. Cloud State University, where he eventually became involved in the mass communications department.

“I actually tried out for the baseball team my freshman year, and that didn’t last very long,” he said. “I came to the realization that if I was going to be able to get into baseball games for free, it probably was not going to be as a player.”

He found his way to KVSC toward the end of his freshman year at SCSU and started doing newscasts. He would make his first sports broadcast just before the start of his sophomore year. Bremer and a friend were assigned a Huskies football game, but arrangements hadn’t been made for them to have spots in the press box. Instead, they broadcast the game from the roof of the press box at what was then Selke Field.

Bremer graduated with a degree in mass communication from SCSU in 1978, and said the University laid the foundation for his illustrious broadcasting career. He was able to gain professional knowledge and experience that sent him out of the gate running, giving him a jump start as a broadcasting professional.

Dick Bremer in Husky Plaza“The most important thing anybody can do who aspires to be a broadcaster is to get comfortable as quickly as you can speaking into a microphone. There’s a barrier there — and some people can cross it, some people can’t,” he said. “But the sooner you get comfortable talking into a microphone, the more relaxed you’ll be and the more of your personality will come out. At KVSC and to some degree UTVS, I was able to get that comfort level.”

For current broadcasting students or those just starting their careers, Bremer said authenticity is paramount.

“Be yourself, because if you have any aspiration to have a long broadcasting career, trying to be somebody else will be very quickly revealed,” he said. “You’ve got to be yourself and try to make your audience — whether it be through radio, through television — as comfortable with you as you can, and the best way to do that is to just be yourself. Have confidence in yourself and trust that you have something to offer the listener or the viewer. And if you’re yourself, that’ll come through the airwaves.”

During his time at SCSU and following graduation, Bremer worked as a radio disc jockey for KCLD. While the station encouraged him to stay, he left for an internship with television station WTCN out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he’d be able to do more sports broadcasting.

“I really didn’t want to play records for a living, particularly the records I was asked to play,” he said. “Disco was just getting started back then — was not a fan — and so I really wanted to get into sports journalism.”

One month into what was supposed to be a three-month internship, Bremer was offered a weekend sportscaster position with WTCN. He was eventually promoted to weekday sportscaster during his three years with the station, before an opportunity with then-Spectrum Sports arose. He started with Spectrum in December 1982 calling games for the then-Minnesota North Stars, before starting play-by-play announcing for the Twins in the spring of ’83.

The rest is history.

“I was greatly influenced by the Twins broadcasters when I was a little kid, never imagining in a thousand years that I would someday be able to make my career doing what they were doing,” Bremer said. “I was influenced so heavily by them; if there’s one boy, one girl out there over the span of 40 years that fell in love with the game of baseball — specifically Twins baseball, if there is that one person, I think I did my job. I paid it forward. I did for someone else what those guys did for me back in the early ’60s. We’ll have to wait and see. I’ve gotten so many wonderful responses to my retirement announcement, that I think I maybe did okay in that regard.”

While he’ll miss the people and the connections he’s made over the past 40 years, Bremer said he’s looking forward to not working through every summer. There’s some serious golfing, fishing and boating to catch up on.

Still, he wouldn’t change a thing.

“It was important to me to pursue my dream … that’s not even true. I never dreamt of having the career that I had. It was presented to me and I tried to make the most out of it,” he said. “But I’ve tried to convey to my kids and anybody else who asks: You’ve got to pursue what your passion is. For me, once I got started in it, I really wanted to keep doing it for a while. I remember after the first telecast thinking, ‘The Twins lost 11 to 3 and it was over with in the first inning — but man, I had fun. I hope I can keep doing this for a while.’ Turns out I did it for 40 years. My dream did come true.”


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