Mike Shannon, broadcasting in his 48th season for the Cardinals, turned 80 Monday. He was in the team's radio booth for the Cardinals-Pittsburgh Pirates game.
Asked if he thought he would be broadcasting Cardinal games at 80, Shannon smiled and said, “I didn’t see myself at 80, period. I’ve proved a lot of people wrong, that’s for sure.”
Shannon’s playing career ended when he was 30 after he contracted a serious kidney disease in 1970. In one breath, he said it was just another birthday. In another, he said, “I’m glad to have it. The alternatives weren’t too good.”
He joked, when asked how old he felt. “Lately, I’ve been feeling 80,” he said. “But this game keeps you young. And young people keep you young.”
Shannon played in three World Series as a Cardinal and has broadcast seven more that the Cardinals have played in. He does only home games on radio now but if there is postseason play this season for the Cardinals, Shannon said he would go on the road.
“The game has changed more in the last five years than in the previous 50,” he said. “It’s changed psychologically more now than ever before. It’s played so differently.
“Look at the shifts and how that’s developed. If they don’t shift, then there must be something wrong with you.
“And I don’t know if it’s been for the best either,” he said. “The fans will tell you. And, right now I don’t think the fans are too happy with some of the things going on.”
The secret to his success at 80? “Keep moving, man,” he said. “Keep moving all the time.”
Will he continue broadcasting Cardinals games? “I take it a day at a time and a year at a time,” said Shannon, who has a renewable contract.
“I don’t have to make that decision until Dec. 1,” he said. “(But) I’ll be there. I’ve already got my place for spring training.”