How do you say goodbye to someone who's been a part of your life for so long you can't remember?
After 43 years on KCBS, Al Hart is putting a wrap on his long radio career. He's been a sort of "anchor emeritus" for the last 8 1/2 years, showing up only on Wednesday mornings to join us for our John Madden segment.
In a way, Al's been a little like one of those veteran ballplayers who, in the twilight of their careers, move from the starting lineup to the bench. Though they get fewer at-bats, they still contribute, often in ways that don't show up in the boxscore.
So how did Al contribute? He showed us all what it means to be a professional. Look, I'm not going to claim that Al hit every pitch out of the park or got to every fly ball, to keep up the analogy. Nobody does. But he did everything the right way. Wore the uniform right, got to batting practice on time, respected the rules. A pro.
Al would never throw his arm over your shoulder and tell you how to do your job. Not his style. But he was still a remarkable teacher and leader, just by force of example. This will sound funny now, but when I started at KCBS in 1982, I wore a coat and tie to work for years. Why would a radio guy feel the need to wear a coat and tie into the studio? Because that's how Al did it.
Like all of us, Al may have lost a step or two. It's the way things work.
But the example he set is as bright as it ever was. We'll miss the snickerdoodle cookies Al brought in every week, of course. But what we'll really miss is Al himself.
So long, Al. And thanks.