From Sheepshead Bay, Howard Kellman graduated from Brooklyn College right around the time George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in the 1970s.
Kellman, in his 20s then, grew up a Yankees fan and wanted to be an MLB play-by-player, so he wrote Steinbrenner a letter stating his desire. Steinbrenner received it and allowed Kellman to practice in an unused broadcast booth at the old Yankee Stadium.
On Friday night, Kellman, 70, will be on the call for the Yankees-Rays game in Tampa.
It’s a one-game assignment, as the Yankees have lightened the travel load of John Sterling in the second half of the season.
For Kellman, a lifelong Yankee fan, it will be special.
“This is a great thrill,” Kellman told The Post.
(Call it a youth movement, as Sterling is 84 compared to the 70-year-old Kellman.).
Kellman has had a career to be proud of, even if he has never been a full-time major league announcer. He’s something of an institution in Indianapolis, where he has been the Triple-A play-by-player for 46 years. For more than three decades, he’s called high school football and basketball on TV there, as well.
He’s done major league games before, having filled in on some Mets games in 2014 on Howie Rose’s suggestion and 30 years earlier, in 1984, he was on a few White Sox games. He also called 20 Cleveland Cavaliers games in 1988-89. Among his mentors have been Ernie Harwell, Marty Glickman and Marv Albert.
In the ’80s, he said he came close to getting major league jobs in Cleveland, Baltimore and St. Louis, the last of which included Bob Costas’ recommendation, he said. By the ’90s, though, with a full plate of baseball, basketball and football in Indianapolis, he sort of scrapped the idea of going to the big leagues, he said.
With the Steinbrenner connection, he has stayed in touch with the Yankees, through their top executives, Randy Levine and Lonn Trost. It was Levine, according to Kellman, who recommended that he reach out to Chris Oliviero, the president of Audacy’s New York operations, which owns WFAN.
A couple of weeks ago, Oliviero said how about doing the game in Tampa on Sept. 2. And here he is. He has been a Yankees fan since he was a kid, and even wrote a book that has a hat tip to Roger Maris, “61 Humorous and Inspiring Lessons I Learned from Baseball.”
Kellman reminisced about a Yankees story from his youth. In 1960, after the Yankees lost the World Series to the Pirates in seven games, Kellman remembered Casey Stengel being fired.
“ ‘I’ll never make the mistake of being 70 again,’ ” Kellman remembered Stengel saying. “The Yankees are treating me at age 70 better than they treated Casey Stengel.”
Clicker Book Club
We have the highest recommendation to buy from Papa Clicker, my dad, Herb Marchand, who says “Joe Louis vs. Billy Conn” by Ed Gruver is a winner. Gruver goes into the events that led up to the bout in 1941 and its impact on the boxing world. Papa Clicker says, Mike Vaccaro’s praise on the jacket of the book — “Just a wonderful and engaging read” — summarizes the book perfectly. And Gruver receives the highest score in 2022 in the Clicker Book Club with a 4.6 out of 5.