Milo Hamilton, 50BA, is regarded as one of the greatest sports broadcasters of all time, with a distinctive voice and style that have earned the respect and admiration of countless colleagues and fans for more than half a century of calling games for the major leagues.
During his long and illustrious career, Hamilton has earned his field's every accolade. Now the Voice of the Houston Astros, where he's spent more than 23 seasons, Hamilton counts among his prestigious honors induction into the Ford Frick Broadcast Wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago, and both the Texas Radio Hall of Fame and the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.
A native of Fairfield, Hamilton began his professional journey as a Navy serviceman in World War II, when he was stationed at a military radio station on Guam. He arrived at the University of Iowa in the late 1940s and continued improving his talents as a student employee at WSUI radio. From there, he accepted a job covering professional baseball in Davenport before receiving his first major league position as an announcer for the Saint Louis Browns in 1953. Hamilton went on to call games for the Saint Louis Cardinals, the Chicago White Sox and Cubs, the Atlanta Braves, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and, finally, the Astros. His association with these big-name teams hasn't dimmed Hamilton's affection for Iowa; on many occasions in the broadcast booth, he can be seen wearing a Hawkeye ball cap.
Although Hamilton has been behind the microphone for several record-breaking baseball plays, it was his famous call of Hank Aaron's 715th home run in April 1974 that goes down in history as one of the most memorable—and replayed—sports moments of the 20th century. Hamilton breathlessly described how Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth as baseball's Home Run King: "There's a drive to left-center field! That ball is gonna be ... outta here! It's gone! It's 715! There's a new home run champion of all time! And it's Henry Aaron! Henry Aaron's coming around third! His teammates are at home plate! Listen to the crowd!"
Other career highlights for Hamilton include witnessing 11 no-hitters, Ernie Banks's five grand slams in one season, and Roger Maris's 61st home run in 1961, which tied Babe Ruth's single-season record.
In addition to being a legendary sports broadcaster, Hamilton is also revered as an admirable philanthropist, raising more than $25 million through his participation in special events for numerous charitable organizations. At age 80, he's still going strong and is set to become the longest-serving broadcaster in Houston Astros franchise history.
In his letter nominating Hamilton, colleague and fellow journalism graduate William Wolf, 50BA, wrote: "Milo Hamilton is an outstanding example of the kind of professional that the University of Iowa produces, and he brings exceptional credit to our school. In the bright lights of truly big league activities, Milo has kept his head, played the game, raised the bar, and championed the rules."
The University of Iowa honors Milo Hamilton, who embodies the spirit of fine character and good citizenship that define our state and our institution.
Hamilton is a life member of the UI Alumni Association.