Gilbert A. Santos (April 19, 1938 – April 19, 2018) was an American radio play-by-play announcer for the New England Patriots of the National Football League, and morning sports reporter for WBZ radio in Boston. He was an inductee of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
|Died||April 19, 2018(aged 80)|
|Burial place||Raynham, Massachusetts, U.S.|
|Occupation||Sports announcer, sports reporter|
|Known for||Radio play-by-play for the New England Patriots|
He retired from WBZ radio in January 2009, and was inducted into the WBZ Radio Hall of Fame on July 9, 2009. The Patriots 2012 season was his final season of radio play-by-play.
Santos was born in Acushnet, Massachusetts, and grew up in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. He graduated from Fairhaven High School in 1956. He attended Southeastern Massachusetts University and later graduated from the New England Broadcast School. From 1959 through 1971, Santos worked on radio at WBSM and WNBH in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and WSAR and WALE in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Santos first began his work on Patriots games as the color commentator working with play-by-play announcer Bob Starr from 1966 through 1970 on WBZ 1030. After Starr's departure from the Boston market following the 1970 NFL season, Santos took over as play-by-play announcer and handled that assignment for nine years. From 1980 through 1990, the Patriots' broadcast rights shifted—first to WEEI 590, then to WHDH 850—and Santos spent 11 seasons out of the team's radio both, with John Carlson, Curt Gowdy and Dale Arnold serving as play-by-play announcers for those flagship stations. Santos returned as the Patriots' radio voice in 1991 when WBZ radio regained the team's broadcast rights.
From 1972 through 1978 and from 1990 through 2011, his partner in the booth was former Patriots kicker Gino Cappelletti, except for the opening eight games of the 2001 Patriots season when Cappelletti was hospitalized with an illness and former Patriots player Peter Brock substituted for Cappelletti. Cappelletti retired from his position prior to the 2012 season and was replaced by former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak.
In addition to his work at WBZ, Santos commentated games for the Boston Celtics, Boston Breakers, Providence Friars basketball, Penn State Nittany Lions football, and Boston College Eagles football. On January 10, 2009, Santos announced his retirement from WBZ radio, effective at the end of that month. He continued as Patriots play-by-play announcer when the team's network switched from WBCN to the new WBZ-FM, branded as "The Sports Hub".
In April 2012, Santos suffered a bout with pneumonia and was briefly hospitalized, calling into question his future as Patriots play-by-play announcer. He nonetheless announced he would return for one final season as Patriots broadcaster, retiring after the 2012 NFL season. In April 2013, Bob Socci was announced as Santos' replacement.
Santos' 36 years of service made him the longest-serving announcer in the NFL, tied with Merrill Reese of the Philadelphia Eagles; he was also the final announcer who remained from the American Football League era.
On September 26, 2010, the Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 38–30; it marked the 700th Patriots game, encompassing preseason, regular season, playoffs, and the Super Bowl, that Santos broadcast. His 750th broadcast took place on November 11, 2012, a dramatic 37–31 Patriots win, also against the Bills. He commentated 15 of the club's 19 playoff runs and six Super Bowls.
On December 30, 2012, Santos was rejoined by Gino Cappelletti for the first quarter of New England's 28–0 shutout of the Dolphins, his final regular season broadcast. CBS Sports also simulcast part of Santos' play-by-play during the game's third quarter. Prior to the game, during a ceremony honoring the contributions of Santos and Cappelletti, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft announced that Santos would be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2013.
The last game Santos commentated was in January 2013, the Patriots' AFC Championship Game loss to the Ravens, his 759th broadcast. Santos was inducted to the Patriots Hall of Fame on July 22, 2013, alongside fellow honoree Tedy Bruschi.
Santos served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard with the 1st Howitzer Battalion, 211 Field Artillery, and attained the rank of staff sergeant. He and his wife, Roberta, were married in 1961 and had two children. They lived in Raynham, Massachusetts.
Santos died on April 19, 2018, his 80th birthday and 57th wedding anniversary. A public visitation was held on April 24 in Bridgewater, Massachusetts. His funeral was held on April 25 in Raynham, where he was buried with military honors.
- "Gil Santos". massbroadcastershof.org. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- "Gil Santos (1938–2018)". Masslive.com. AP. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- "Santos and Starr Will Announce Patriots' Football". North Adams Transcript. North Adams, Massachusetts. July 30, 1966. p. 14. Retrieved April 20, 2018 – via newspapers.com.
- "Longtime Patriots broadcaster Gil Santos dies on 80th birthday". New York Post. AP. April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- "Gil Santos, who called 743 Patriots games over 36 seasons, dies at 80". ESPN. April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Finn, Chad (July 20, 2012). "Gino Cappelletti retires from Patriots radio team". Boston.com.
- "Gil Santos Retires From WBZ Radio". WBZ-TV. January 12, 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-02-01. Retrieved 2009-11-08 – via Wayback Machine.
- Finn, Chad (April 13, 2012). "Santos facing uncertainty". Boston.com.
- Doyle, Bill (July 20, 2012). "Tuning In: Gil Santos set for final season with Patriots". Telegram & Gazette.
- Finn, Chad (24 April 2013). "Bob Socci named Patriots radio voice". Boston.com. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
- Berry, Zuri (December 30, 2012). "Gil Santos to be inducted into Patriots Hall of Fame". Boston.com.
- "Bruschi, Santos inducted into Patriots Hall of Fame". Boston.com. July 29, 2013.
- Legacy.com. "Gilbert A. Santos obituary", 22 April 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- The Standard-Times. "Broadcaster, SouthCoast native Gil Santos dead at 80", 19 April 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2019
- Gwynn, John. "The man behind the voice", SouthCoastToday.com, 5 July 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- Sanchez, Steven (July 30, 2013). "Raynham resident Gil Santos inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame". Taunton Daily Gazette. Taunton, Massachusetts. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
- "Gil Santos, Legendary Voice Of The New England Patriots, Dies At 80". WBZ-TV. April 19, 2018.
- "Funeral service information for legendary Patriots broadcaster Gil Santos released". WHDH. April 22, 2018. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
- Pelletier, Joe (April 25, 2018). "NFL broadcaster Gil Santos, Raynham's Patriot, laid to rest". The Enterprise. Brockton, Massachusetts. Retrieved April 25, 2018 – via wickedlocal.com.
- "Statement from Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft on the passing of Patriots Hall of Fame Broadcaster Gil Santos". patriots.com. April 19, 2018.
- Buckley, Steve (April 25, 2018). "Perfect celebration of Gil Santos' life". Boston Herald.
- Gil Santos profile at massbroadcastershof.org
| New England Patriots Play by Play announcer
| New England Patriots Play by Play announcer
| Boston Celtics Television Play by Play announcer
| Boston College Eagles football Play by Play