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Former Voice Of Blue Wahoos Tommy Thrall Recalls Greatest Broadcast Moments In Pensacola 

Tommy Thrall Interviews Former Blue Wahoos Manager Pat Kelly During A Preseason Event In 2018 To Honor His Southern League Manager Of Year Award. (Daniel Venn)
July 28, 2020

Tommy Thrall worked 950 games, give or take, during his seven seasons as broadcast voice of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. That’s a lot of games. He saw a lot of feats, beginning with the Blue Wahoos’ memorable first season in 2012. Choosing a top 10 for his tenure in Pensacola

Tommy Thrall worked 950 games, give or take, during his seven seasons as broadcast voice of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.

That’s a lot of games. He saw a lot of feats, beginning with the Blue Wahoos’ memorable first season in 2012.

Choosing a top 10 for his tenure in Pensacola wasn’t easy.

But Thrall pared it down prior to leaving in 2019 to begin his new career with the Cincinnati Reds. As he now charts a dream-come-true position as the new radio voice of the Reds, it’s worth re-sharing his best moments with the Blue Wahoos.

1. – Inaugural Opening Night (April 5, 2012). Number one qualifies as a dual debut. The franchise’s first game began with Thrall in the booth working his first live radio broadcast at Blue Wahoos Stadium. .

“It was a chaotic day. I remember here being here 4 a.m. to be ready to go on air for Channel 3 (WEAR-TV) morning show,” he said.

“When I got here and realized the enthusiasm around the team, I have never been a part of anything like that.”

2. Tyler Mahle’s Perfect Game (April 22, 2017). Happened in Mobile against BayBears. Current Blue Wahoos radio voice Chris Garagiola was working his first season with team.

“Chris and I looked at each other in the sixth or seventh inning and said, ‘This is really happening.’

“It turned out that a lot of fans had a pretty good idea of what was going on,” Thrall said. “I don’t know if they knew it was a perfect game, but they knew it was a no hitter

“From a baseball perspective and loving the game, it was the most masterfully pitched game I have ever seen. I had never called a perfect game. He was just so spot on.”

3. Blue Wahoos Win Southern League Co-Championship: (Sept. 10, 2017) -- With a hurricane roaring deep in the Gulf of Mexico, the Southern League opted to forego the next week and declare the division playoff winners as co-champs. Thrall had to quickly leave to broadcast a high school game in area.

“The entire state of Florida was pretty much shutdown. All the schools were closed,” Thrall said. “All the high school football games were cancelled except for the one football game still going on and that was the one I was broadcasting.”

4. Daniel Corcino and Wilkin De La Rosa Throw Combined No Hitter (June 17, 2012) -- Corcino pitched eight innings and De La Rosa finished the no-hitter in the ninth as a sellout crowd at Blue Wahoos Stadium celebrated.

5. Donald Lutz Hits For Cycle (April 21, 2014). -- “That was another broadcasting first because I had never seen it happen before,” Thrall said.

6. Billy Hamilton Inside-The-Park-Home Run (July 16, 2012) -- “The centerfielder came in to make an aggressive catch and as soon as it got by him, you knew it was over,” Thrall said. “That play was on minor league baseball’s promo with my call the rest of the season, so I would hear it at other games.

7. Three Blue Wahoos Pitchers Combine For Obscure No Hitter. (May 20, 2016) --This happened in the second game of doubleheader in Jacksonville in a 6-0 Blue Wahoos win against the Jumbo Shrimp. Jackson Stephens, Matt Magill, Carlos Gonzalez all worked a seven-inning game without allowing a hit.

“I remember after the game, our players lined up to shake hands like it was a normal win,” Thrall said. “And I found out later that a couple guys on the team didn’t even know.”

8. Southern League All-Star Game Home Run Derby. (June 20, 2017) -- Sadly, the game itself the next day at Blue Wahoos Stadium was rained out, so this was the only baseball event in Pensacola’s turn to host the Southern League All-Star Game.

But it was memorable as the Blue Wahoos Gabriel Guerrero outdueled the Mississippi Braves (and now Atlanta Braves star) Ronald Acuna.

“And I got to present the award with (Hall of Fame manager) Tony La Russa right next to me, so that was very special.”

9. Didi Gregorius vs. Andrelton Simmons In Shortstop Showcase (May, 6, 2012) -- The first game of a series in Pearl, Mississippi featured two current major league players, who are now with different organizations.

“I think it was the only time the two were in the same game or same series,” Thrall said. “The shortstop play that night was incredible. You knew you were watching two major league shortstops.”

10. Kris Bryant Hits Moon Shot Against Mat Latos (April 3, 2014) -- Bryant was then the Chicago Cubs mega-prospect playing for the Tennessee Smokies. He crushed a pitch over the left-center fence and into Pensacola Bay.

The next time up, Matt Latos on rehab assignment plunked him in the backside.

“Kris handled that so well,” Thrall said. “I just wish I would have known he was the best prospect in the world. He killed that thing. That was amazing to see him play that short time.”