He calls games for the Miami Marlins now, but for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, Dave Van Horne will always be the voice of the Montreal Expos. The Easton, Pa., native was performing radio play-by-play duties for the Richmond Braves (Atlanta Braves’ Triple-A affiliate) from 1966 to 1968 when he first met John McHale (then the Atlanta Braves president). When McHale became president of the Expos, he offered Van Horne his first big league radio gig in 1969.
Behind the mike for the Expos’ first game on April 8, 1969 until the end of the 2000 season, Van Horne became known for his smooth baritone and trademark catch-phrases like “Up, up and away!” when the Expos hit a home run. In his 32 seasons with the Expos, he broadcast the down-to-the-wire pennant races in 1979 and 1980, the team’s only post-season run in 1981 and Dennis Martinez’s perfect game on July 28, 1991 – a performance that inspired, perhaps, his most famous call, “El Presidente, El Perfecto!”
In 2001, Van Horne accepted the radio play-by-play position with the Florida Marlins and he would later broadcast the club’s World Series-winning 2003 campaign. Fittingly, Van Horne was on hand on September 29, 2004 to call the final home game in Expos history from the visiting radio booth.
In 1996, Van Horne received the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award for broadcasting excellence and 15 years later, he was the recipient of the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s equivalent honour, the Ford C. Frick Award. Now entering his 46th year of broadcasting major league games, Van Horne is set to become the second Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee (Tom Cheek is the other) to have won both the Jack Graney and Ford C. Frick Awards. Dave retired after the 2021 season was over.