Kingery Ready to Move On
Listening to the Rockies will sound different next year.
Jeff Kingery, who has been a part of the Rockies radio team since the franchise came into existence, is going to retire at the end of this season – whenever that may be.
Kingery, who initially teamed with Wayne Hagin and is now a partner with Jack Corrigan, has been a part of all but 16 Rockies broadcasts in franchise history. He missed 13 for personal reasons, including his brother’s wedding in 2003, and was unable to handle the duties for a three-game series in Cincinnati in 1997 when he lost his voice.
Kingery is known for bringing a calming, factual approach to the broadcast.
Kingery knows there will be insinuations that his decision stems from an incident in late June on the Rockies bus carrying the team from Dodger Stadium to the team hotel. Kingery was banned from traveling on team planes and buses.
He, however, continued to handle the broadcasting chores for Rockies games, except for a trip to Florida and Washington, paying his own air fare, and said that incident did not play a part in his retirement.
“This is something (wife) Meryl and I started talking about last season and I came close to doing it a year ago, but for several reasons we decided I’d come back for a final season,’’ said Kingery. “Nothing has happened to convince me I want to keep on going.’’
Truth is, Kingery has discussed the possible retirement with friends both in and out of baseball for more than a year, indicating that he and his wife, who have no children, wanted to be healthy enough to enjoy retirement when he retired.
And that’s what makes the timing so good right now.
“We’ve been fortunate,’’ said Kingery. “I have made a good living out of this. Three or four years ago the thought started creeping in that we wanted to travel and do things that didn’t necessarily tie into being committed to being ordained by the job.
“We can afford to (travel) on our own. … Someone asked me recently when was the last time I had barbequed at home. I told them I couldn’t remember, but I did know our barbeque was broken a long time ago and we never fixed it because we didn’t use it.’’
Kingery and his wife will continue a dual residency, splitting time between the homes they own in Tucson and Denver. They moved to the Denver area in 1981, when Kingery joined KOA to handle broadcasting the University of Colorado men’s basketball and Denver’s Triple-A baseball team. He then spent 11 years as the voice of the Denver Nuggets before being moved to the Rockies broadcast team.
He will remain on the Rockies broadcast team through however long this season lasts. He will travel on the Rockies flights and buses for the final regular-season trip to Los Angeles this weekend, and any post-season games the Rockies play.
“I will miss the people, but when it gets to a point that the job is a grind, that’s time to move on,’’ said Kingery. “Next spring my baseball will consist of reading box scores at Starbucks. … After 30 years of living on someone else’s timetable, I am ready to do my own thing.’’
He said he did do a double take when he started calling friends in the business to inform them of his decision.
“I was talking to Vin Scully (of the Dodgers) and felt stupid,’’ said Kingery. “Here I am moving along after 17 years And Vin is still going strong after 60 years with the Dodgers.’’
He will move along with plenty of memories from his 17 years of calling Rockies games.
Among his most memorable were the first game ever in New York against the Mets in 1993; the first game in Denver, at Mile High Stadium, against Montreal in 1993; the four playoff games with the Braves in 1995, and the 2007 play-in game with San Diego.
“I don’t think anybody can beat that game with the Padres for me as far as an absolute emotional moment,’’ said Kingery. “I am making the call and my fishes are clinched above my head. That was one for the ages.’’