PHILADELPHIA (AP/CBS) — Longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler is out after nearly four decades in the booth and Gary Matthews isn’t returning as color analyst, the Phillies announced Wednesday.
The team recently signed a new television contract with NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet that’s reportedly worth $2.5 billion over 25 years.
The decision to replace Wheeler and Matthews came from the network, according to multiple sources. The Phillies said Wheeler and Matthews will continue to work with the organization in other roles.
The 68-year-old Wheeler started with the Phillies in 1971 and was the longest-tenured member of the broadcast team. “Wheels” did play-by-play and color analysis on television and radio, and for years was teamed with Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas.
The 63-year-old Matthews was a television color analyst the past seven seasons and also worked on radio. Matthews played 16 seasons in the majors and was the 1973 NL Rookie of the Year with San Francisco and 1983 NLCS MVP with Philadelphia.
“As the longest-tenured member of the Phillies broadcasting team, Chris Wheeler will return to his club roots after stepping down from his role as a Phillies broadcaster,” the team said in a statement.
“With 37 years of broadcasting experience, combined with his front office background where he began his Phillies career, ‘Wheels’ will take on a new role allowing the organization to continue to benefit from his knowledge, experience and dedication to the game,” the statement said. “Additionally, Gary Matthews will continue to work with the Phillies in roles that are yet to be determined.”
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Phillies broadcast team for 37 years,” Chris Wheeler said in a statement. “I certainly respect the decision that was made and I look forward to my new role in the Phillies organization.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.