Monday, March 22, 2021

Charlotte O's Baseball Profiles of Tony Schiavone and Frances Crockett (1982)

Before Tony Schiavone joined ringside partners Bob Caudle, David Crockett, and Johnny Weaver as one of the voices of Mid-Atlantic and World Wide Wrestling in the early 1980s, he was the radio voice of the Charlotte O's baseball franchise, the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Both the wrestling organization and the baseball club were part of the Jim Crockett Promotions empire.

Ric Flair told listeners on episode #26 of his podcast "WOOOOO! Nation" that after meeting Tony and hearing him call O's baseball, he suggested to the Crockett family that Schiavone get a chance to join the wrestling part of the company.

Not long after Flair's suggestion, Schiavone was asked to interview Ric Flair at his home in Charlotte for a feature that aired prior to Flair's NWA World Title match against Harley Race at Starrcade '83. That went well, and he was tabbed with the opportunity to follow the legendary Charlotte wrestling announcer "Big" Bill Ward as host of the localized promo segments that were inserted into the wrestling shows. He eventually wound up getting his big shot co-hosting "World Wide Wrestling" alongside David Crockett in 1984. The rest, as they say, is history.

But before all that took place, the following short profile on Tony appeared in a 1982 Charlotte O's baseball program....

One of Greensboro's top radio personalities comes to Charlotte this year as the voice of the O's. He is Tony Schiavone, a 24 year old native of Virginia. Last year Tony was the voice of the Class A Greensboro Hornets and was named 1981 South Atlantic League Broadcaster of the Year.

Bob Taylor of WBTV will join Tony this year as color man. This will be Bob's second year on O's Radio, and the former professional player once again brings his knowledge of the game to the booth.

Schiavone is a graduate of James Madison University and has been in radio for five years. His past duties have involved football, basketball, and baseball play-by-play, and host of a call-in talk show.

His duties with the O's will also include coordinating media information and keeping official statistics.
Schiavone is married to the former Lois Berger of Greensboro and they are expecting their first child in July.


The following is a profile of Frances Crockett, then the general manager of the successful Charlotte O's baseball club. The O's were the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Both the Charlotte O's baseball club and the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling organization were part of Jim Crockett Promotions, Inc.

Frances is the oldest child of Jim and Elizabeth Crockett. She was the first woman General Manager of a professional baseball team and as reported on the Crockett Foundation website she has been profiled in Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and the Wall Street Journal. She serves as a special adviser to the board of the Crockett Foundation

This appeared in a 1982 Charlotte O's program sold at ballgames held at Crockett Park.

General Manager Frances Crockett

She sits back watching and listening never missing what is happening. Formulating and piecing together where she wants to go and what she wants for herself and the Charlotte O's. Basically shy and uncomfortable in the lime light, she nos taken the city of Charlotte by storm.

Since she took charge of the O's in 1977, Frances Crockett has developed a rare combination of energy and imagination to the job with spectacular results. In 1981 an all time Charlotte sports attendance record was set of 211,761. Crockett Park has become the place to be every spring and summer with promotions and give-aways every night of the season.
Frances' philosophy is that "The fans are what it is all about." This philosophy often throws her into conflict but she never falters. An old-fashioned girl who runs the team like any other business with old fashioned principles.
Her father, "Big" Jim Crockett, taught Frances everything she knows. Few knew more about managing and promotion than her father. She began in 1977 with no previous background in business or baseball. Many people thought of her as only a publicity stunt, but her natural charms with the team coupled with her shrewd business head has led her to the top of her profession.
"There are a lot of people who are responsible for the O's success. Our staff, both full-time and part-time, have to get a lot of credit. And I can't say enough about our loyal fans and advertisers. All these people, they are the ones that make this thing go."

For more information on the mission of the Crockett Foundation and the good work they do, please visit their website.

This post was combined and edited from two earlier posts from December of 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.