For the last dozen years of Marty Brennaman’s broadcasting career with the Cincinnati Reds, those of us living in Ashland were blessed with a unique view.
That’s because Marty’s girlfriend and later wife, Amanda Ingram Brennaman, shared him with us. Amanda is an Ashland girl and her parents and sister are still here. Her family was with the rest during the celebration after Marty made his last call Thursday.
If you heard Marty’s farewell speech on the field, you heard him talk about his sweetheart.
“She been everything to me,” Brennaman said. “We’re 30 years difference in age and we have the same birthdate. So I knew it was meant to be. Every day I wake up and she’s doing more and more things for me than she has to do.”
Marty has been to a lot of places but Amanda has directed him to plenty more. She’s been like an out-of-control travel agent and they have started seeing the world. Amanda didn’t sit at home in Cincinnati when the Reds and Marty were on the road. She went along, exploring the ballparks and everything else these great cities had to offer.
“She’s been a wonderful companion and traveled with me almost without exception,” he said. “Now, as I retire, we’ll spend even more time together and that’s going to be a bigger adjustment for her than it will be for me.”
Marty is 77 years old and in terrific shape to travel or do whatever else he wants. He’s a baseball legend, already in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and soon to join the Reds Hall of Fame next summer in a solo tribute. So more baseball accolades are coming for the man who has been the “Voice of the Reds” since 1974.
Marty is looking forward to spending more time with Amanda but don’t blame her for him retiring from the broadcast booth.
“I truly believe if I were single this time would have never taken place,” he said. “It’s not because of anything she has said or done. She’s said a million times, ‘If you want to work until you’re 100 years old, work until you’re 100. If you want to retire, retire.’ I did this of my own volition. The fact she’s my best friend and partner have a lot to do with it. We have places we want to go and things we want to do and thank God I’m healthy enough to be able to do them.”
That could mean more trips to Ashland for the Brennamans, who are frequent visitors. Last year they were even the grand marshals for Ashland’s popular Christmas parade.
He has been spotted at football games and various other places, politely signing autographs or posing for selfies. They were all over Facebook the past couple of days. Amanda writes a column for the weekly newspaper about the Reds and their adventures. She also provided me with rare access to her husband for stories when I was working at the newspaper in Ashland. I’ll be forever grateful.
In 2014, when the Salvation Army in Ashland wanted to do a winter fundraiser, he agreed to be the keynote speaker (at no charge) for the Hot Stove Luncheon. It was a huge success for two reasons: Marty Brennaman.
While Cincinnati owns this baseball legend and the Brennamans will likely never move away from there, Ashland can lay a little claim on him too because of Amanda, his on-the-go wife.
MARK MAYNARD is managing editor of Kentucky Today.