There are several sure signs of spring in the Hoosier capitol. The birds are back and singing, the trees are starting to bud, and Howard Kellman is on the radio describing the Indians games from his seat in the broadcast booth from the Vic. For nearly four decades Howard has been calling the play-by-play for Indians fans and in that time he has become a legend not only in the city, but across the state and the midwest as well. While the playing rosters and the coaching staff for the Tribe has changed over the years, Howard Kellman has remained the one constant with the team and his voice is as familiar to Indians fans as the skyline view from the stands at Victory Field.
As a teenager in Brooklyn, New York, Howard decided that he wanted to have a career in sports broadcasting, so the 14 year old started to devote all his energies and his education focus towards achieving that goal. He attended Brooklyn College and announced St. Johns University basketball games during his collegiate days. Upon graduation he prepared an audio tape of himself calling a mock game between the Yankees and Red Sox and sent copies to 131 different sports organizations. The Indians were among the teams that called him back and they made him the best offer, so at age 22 Howard found himself in front of a microphone in the broadcast box at Bush Stadium. “It was a dream come true” said Howard, “and I tried to make the most of the opportunity.”
Howard quickly adapted to the team and the city, getting a feel not only for the players but more importantly for the fans who were listing to him. Like all great sports broadcasters, Howard Kellman doesn’t just announce what’s going on directly in front him. He brings insight, experience, and passion to his play-by-play descriptions. He paints a verbal picture of the scene. When I asked Howard if he had memorable moments, he admitted that there were too many to count but that he tried to live each day of his life as a memorable moment. When you meet Howard you are struck by his youthful energy and quick wit. It’s hard to believe that the man in front of you could have been in the business for 39 years. Howard’s personal motto is PEP (Pursue Excellence Passionately). In 2002, Howard was voted Indiana Sportscaster of the Year. In 2010, Howard announced his 5000th Indians game……incredible!
Howard has witnessed many historic events and a lot of change in the Tribe. The Cincinnati Reds were the affiliate when Howard arrived, then the Golden Area of the Montreal Expos, the Reds again, then the Milwaukee Brewers, and now the Pittsburgh Pirates. Some outstanding player players with great talent have been with the Indians — Andres Galarraga Pedro Alvarez, manager Cecil Cooper, Delino DeShields, fan favorite Razor Shines, Ray Knight, Aaron Boone, Sal Fasano, and many others. Howard claims that pitcher Randy Johnson may be the most memorable. Johnson was with the Expos organization when he played for the Indians. A striking physical presence at 6 foot 10 inches tall, Johnson possessed a blazing fast ball and a deadly slider. Randy Johnson is the first Tribe player since Harmon Killebrew to have a bust in Cooperstown.
The move from Bush Stadium on West 16th to downtown at Victory Field was certainly one of the most significant events in Howard’s career. “I loved Bush Stadium with all of it’s history, but this stadium (Victory Field) is the one of the most beautiful parks in the country. And for fan comfort and media technology there is none better”.
While Howard Kellman is known primarily for his Indians he has been involved in many other endeavors. He has called games for the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Cavaliers. He has announced IHSAA football and basketball on television since 1990. He has covered the World Series, Pacers basketball, Colts football, Notre Dame, Indiana University, Purdue, Indiana State sports, and ABC, CBS, and AP radio. He was the lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage of the Triple-A World Series from 2006 to 2008. He also announces the televised Indians games on Channel 40. Howard is a highly regarded and sought after motivational speaker and addresses audiences all over the nation. “Public speaking and broadcast announcing are not directly related,” Howard said, “but my public speaking has made me a better broadcaster.” For more information about Howard’s motivational speaking go to his web site HowardKellman.com
Howard has also written a very entertaining and informative book called 61 Humorous and Inspiring Lessons I Learned from Baseball. If you are a sports fan, baseball addict, or just enjoy a good read, pick up a copy of Howard’s book. In 2009, Howard Kellman was named to the Indiana Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
Howard and his wife Robin live up on the north side of Indianapolis with their two dogs. They both are true blue fans of the city. Howard has not sought a job in Major League ball because of his love for both Indianapolis and the Indians. Howard Kellman is as much a part of the Indians and Indianapolis sports as a hotdog, a home run, or a double play. He brings the game to life for fans, providing knowledge to us that few others could.