After 23 years, Astros announcer is part of World Series team
During the leanest years — including 2013 when the Houston Astros lost a franchise-record 111 games — Galveston native Bob Ford found himself in a crisis of faith.
Growing up an Astros fan, his heart was firmly behind the team. But, as the losses piled up, it was hard to balance his disappointment as a fan with the need to show up for work each day, he said.
“There were nights where I would get mad and come home grumpy,” Ford said. “After a season or two, I sort of had to resign myself to where as long as the check cleared, things were going OK.”
Ford, a fifth-generation Galvestonian, has worked as the Astros public address announcer since the 1994 season, his booming voice pumping up fans and announcing beloved players like Jose Altuve with gusto.
Ford started his announcing career calling Pony League games in Galveston and turned that into a career in radio.
After years at a variety of radio stations and programs, Ford got his opportunity to interview for an opening as the Astros announcer.
“There were a dozen finalists,” Ford said. “Each of us then came in and read a prepared script. I remember it — they were preparing for the rodeo.”
Shortly after that, Ford received the news — he’d be the next announcer.
The years since taking over the mic at the Astrodome, and later at Minute Maid Park, have been filled with good times and bad, but none quite as special as the 2017 season when the Astros won the World Series, Ford said.
“It was just fun watching those guys,” Ford said.
After years of toil and development, the Astros finished the regular season 101-61 and used the momentum to carry the team to its first World Series in the 56 years of the team’s existence.
Ford compared the experience to a talented 2005 Astros team that fell in the World Series to the White Sox.
“That year, they always found their way back into games,” Ford said. “It started to feel the same at the end of last year (the 2016 season).”
Some 23 years since taking over the announcing booth, Ford was part of a World Series-winning team — not bad for a boy from Galveston.
“Growing up playing baseball, you always think of yourself as being on the field,” Ford said. “But it’s a thrill. I try to pinch myself sometimes. You don’t want to get complacent. I’m one of 30 people who get to do this in the country.”
The whole while, Ford remained in Galveston, aside from a brief college stint at the University of Houston.
When not sitting in the announcing booth at Minute Maid Park, Ford spends his time working in his home studio or sitting at the back of his island house watching the sun set over the bayou.
“A few years ago, I got an offer in Chicago, which would have changed my life dramatically,” Ford said. “But I’m a homebody. I like being close to family and the pace of life here.”
So, each game day in the spring, Ford makes the journey up Interstate 45 to add to the Astros atmosphere, bringing up players and creating moods.
“The people in the organization are sort of like family,” Ford said. “After spending the day locked in my studio at the house, I really crave that interpersonal interaction.”