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Hank Goldberg, Betting Maven and Sports Radio Star, Dies at 82


Joe Zagacki, considered one of Mr. Goldberg’s producers at WIOD, recalled in a phone interview a day when “Hank had an argument with a caller — he had considered one of his volcanic explosions — and I said, ‘My goodness, you simply hammered that guy. You’re ‘Hammering Hank Goldberg.’”

The nickname stuck. After he began at ESPN in 1993, Mr. Goldberg began banging a mallet on a studio desk to specific his disagreement with a colleague or his disdain for a sports figure. He referred to himself as “Hammer.”

He initially appeared on ESPN2, which was recent on the time and was attempting to succeed in a younger audience with anchors who wearing an informal, cool style. Not Mr. Goldberg, who was definitely not cool but brought a unusual, brassy personality to the network — even though it was more congenial than his in-your-face radio demeanor.

“Hank could fit into any genre; he could fit anywhere,” said Suzy Kolber, a longtime anchor and reporter at ESPN who worked with Mr. Goldberg on ESPN2 and in Florida. “Plug him into the horse-racing crowd or the ESPN2 bunch. He fit right in.”

Henry Edward Goldberg was born on July 4, 1940, in Newark and grew up in South Orange, N.J. His mother, Sadie (Abben) Goldberg, was a homemaker; his father, Hy, was a sports columnist for The Newark Evening News. Hy Goldberg steadily took his wife and kids to the Yankees’ spring training in Florida, where young Hank became friendly with Joe DiMaggio, who called him Henry, Ms. Goldberg said in an interview.

At 17, Mr. Goldberg went to the racetrack for the primary time and won $450 when he hit the day by day double at Monmouth Park in Latest Jersey. When he brought his winnings home, he recalled, his father told him, “Oh, you’re in trouble now.” In an interview this 12 months with The Las Vegas Review-Journal, he added, “He knew I’d never recover from my love for the races.”

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