ESPN’s Monday Night Football talent statistician Marty Aronoff logs about 300,000 miles each year travelling from his hometown in Washington, D.C., to cover sporting events across the country.
In a career that spans 39 years, Aronoff has been in the booth, next to sports television play-by-play announcers for Monday Night Football (Mike Tirico), the NBA Finals on CBS (Dick Stockton), the Major League Baseball World Series (Gary Thorne, MLB International) and ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, to name a few.
Leading up to tonight’s Seattle Seahawks at Washington Redskins MNF game (ESPN, 8:15 ET), Aronoff sat down with Front Row to reflect on his career.
When did you start as a TV sports booth statistician?
1975. I was working with the Federal Government (National Bureau of Standards) in my hometown of Washington, D.C. A very close friend of mine, Warner Wolf, was working at the CBS affiliate and his station got the right to do the Washington NBA games. Since I travelled for the Government a lot, I told Warner: ‘If I’m ever in a city where you are doing a game, I’ll come over and help you do some stats during the game’. He said, ‘great.’
In 1982, I started working with Dick Stockton on CBS’ NBA and NFL games. In 1983, I decided to be one of the first people to do stats full-time.
What do you consider the best aspect of your job?
What I do is all based on trust with the announcer. If I come up with something, I hand them a note or I whisper it to them, they have to say it instantaneously. They can’t sit back and say, is he right or not? It is all on 100 percent trust. The fact that I’ve been doing this for so long and, knock on wood, I’ve had a pretty good record. I work with top announcers – Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough, Kenny Albert, Jon Miller, Dave O’Brien, Dan Shulman and others. When I tell them something, they go with it.
What is your most memorable game?
In 2003, I was doing the famous Yankees-Red Sox playoff game when Aaron Boone hit the home run to win Game 7. Right before then, I told Gary Thorne: ‘You know, there have been a few famous post-season home runs – Bill Mazeroski, Joe Carter and so forth. Maybe, we’re going to see one tonight.’ In the bottom of the inning, Aaron Boone hits a home run. Gary gives me a big thumbs-up. And now, I’ve been working with Aaron Boone on ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball for the last couple years.”
Editor’s Note: This Wednesday, Oct. 8, Aronoff, a 1960 graduate of Penn State University, will be honored with the title of Alumni Fellow, by the university’s alumni association. A proud Nittany Lion, he established the Marty and John Aronoff Trustee Scholarship that has benefitted 20 students.