Since the franchise’s inception in 2001, there have been hundreds of players who have taken the field for the Brooklyn Cyclones, but through it all, there has only been one voice – the legendary Warner Fusselle, who has called the play-by-play action for the Brooklyn faithful. Like his predecessors, Red Barber, Ernie Harwell, and Mel Allen, Fusselle brought a distinct southern style to New York baseball, and his iconic voice became a fixture in the homes of fans throughout the Big Apple.
Sadly, Fusselle passed away on Sunday evening from an apparent heart attack, just a week before what would have been his 12th Opening Day as the radio play-by-play voice of the Cyclones, and his 35th Opening Day in baseball. He was 68.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Warner’s passing,” said Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen. “There is no one who knew more – or cared more – about baseball in Brooklyn than Warner. His distinctive voice, knowledge and endless passion for the game enriched Brooklyn Cyclones baseball for our players, staff, and fans from day one and his presence will be sorely missed.”
He missed only a handful of games during his 11 years of calling games from the “Catbird Seat,” a phrase that Warner borrowed from his beloved Red Barber. In recent weeks, he also called televised St. John’s baseball games, which aired on CBS Sports Network, as the Red Storm marched toward the NCAA Tournament.
Born on April 7, 1944, in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in Gainsville, Georgia, Fusselle served in Korea during the Viet Nam War. He was also the Voice of the television show "This Week In Baseball," and Seton Hall Pirates basketball during his career in New York. A minor league baseball advocate, he also called games for the Richmond Braves and Spartanburg Phillies. In addition, Warner broadcast games for the ABA's Virgina Squires, calling the action for Hall of Famers Julies "Dr. J" Erving and George Gervin.
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.
Funeral services have yet to be announced.