A page out of baseball's days as the undisputed national pastime has closed with the death of Joe Cullinane, who built many of his memoirs at a time when fans followed their teams on radio and numerous smaller towns throughout the country had a professional baseball team.
Cullinane's career included tours in Omaha, Shreveport, Ill., Rochester, N.Y., and Denver and at least partly at a time when baseball's development ladder ranged from Class D to Class Triple-A.
Cullinane, 89, died in his sleep Friday night at his home in south Denver. Services are scheduled Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 2375 E. Arizona Ave.
Cullinane came to Denver in 1975 and joined the staff of the Denver Bears. While with the Bears, he teamed with Jeff Kingery on radio broadcasts of the games on KOA. The two worked together again on radio broadcasts of the Rockies after major-league baseball came to Denver in 1993.
For a couple of seasons, Cullinane was part of the pregame segment of Rockies broadcasts. His "Classic Cullinane" features were based on the many interviews with baseball stars he had gathered over the course of 50 years.
Cullinane also wrote a book titled "Face to Face with Sports Legends."
"Joe never was without a story," Kingery said. "He had interviews with so many of the great names in baseball that you couldn't replicate today."
Before coming to Denver, Cullinane was a sports radio personality in Rochester, N.Y., from 1963-75. His three children, Susie, Patrick and Michael, grew up in Rochester. Cullinane also is survived by his wife, Othelia.
Cullinane stayed with Denver's minor-league franchise through the time of the Denver Zephyrs. He maintained a media presence with the Rockies until poor health sent him to the sidelines a few years ago.
"When he had to stop going to Coors Field, it broke his heart," his daughter said.
Cullinane left his trademark.
"If you have 30 seconds, I've got another story," he told anyone who would listen.