Warner Fusselle, the radio “Voice of the Brooklyn Cyclones” since the team’s inception in 2001, passed away last night of an apparent heart attack at Hackensack (N.J.) Medical Center. He was 68. A friend, John Bacchia, said that the hospital confirmed his death
He missed only a game or two during his 11 years with the Cyclones. In recent weeks he called televised St. John’s baseball games which aired on CBS Sports Network. Fusselle broadcast the Cyclones games from the “Catbird Seat,” a phrase that originated with the Brooklyn Dodgers voice Red Barber. The Cyclones once held a Warner Fusselle Bobblehead Night in tribute to the announcer.
Born on April 7, 1944, in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Gainsville, Georgia, Fusselle served in Korea during the Viet Nam War. Fusselle was also the Voice of the television show “This Week In Baseball,” and Seton Hall Pirates basketball during his career in New York. He was the Voice of the ABA’s Virginia Squires, coached by Al Bianchi, calling the action of such legendary Hall of Famers “Dr. J,” Julius Erving, and George Gervin. He also broadcast the Baltimore Orioles games for a period of time. A minor league baseball advocate, he called the Richmond Braves, where he worked with Bobby Cox, and the Spartanburg Phillies.
He played baseball at Gainsville H.S., which he led to an undefeated season in 1962, hitting .470. Ironically, this year’s Gainsville team was also undefeated. Blessed with a dulcet-toned voice and meticulously prepared for his broadcasts, Fusselle such late, legendary baseball play-by-play announcers as Mel Allen, who he worked with at Major League Baseball Productions(later Phoenix Communications), and Ernie Harwell.
He was a graduate of Wake Forest University.
The “Fuse,” as he was nicknamed, was an avid collector of baseball and rock and roll memorabilia.
He is survived by one sister, Alicia Ruth Fusselle, and two nephews he considered his own, Max Thomas Hyde, Jr. (Eliza Howell) and Warner Fusselle Hyde (Raiford Hudson). He joyfully referred to their off-spring as “the chickadees.” He embraced each one and each one’s interests as his own.
Predeceased by his father Dr. Warner Earle Fusselle (college president and minister) and his mother Ruth Trotter Boone Fusselle (author, speaker, professor, and inimitable mother). He had his father’s magnificent voice and his mother’s ability to tell stories and write.