An era of my childhood ended this afternoon. Tom Cheek died at the age of 66 after complications stemming from brain cancer. Cheek was the voice of he Toronto Blue Jays since their inception and called more than 4,300 ballgames in a row from 1977 until 2003.

Oddly enough as a kid grownig up in Canada, I came to baseball first as a sport. The Blue Jays could do no wrong in my eyes, even though when I first watched them they had some of the most stuning collapses in the playoffs and regular season. Tom Cheek was always there, though. Driving home from sunday school two things would be on the radio, the end of the Royal Canadian Air Farce and after that, the Jays game.

I've had the oppourtunity to meet Mr. Cheek a couple of times, and he more than everyone else deserves to be called a class act, giving an ear to a 10, 12 and 19 year old who just wanted to talk baseball. Tom missed his first game since the Blue Jays inception to attend his fathers' funeral in 2003. A week after returning, he missed another couple of games with, it was later found out to be, a tumor iun his brain. There's still an irrational part of me that thinks had he never left that broadcast booth, I'd still be lucky enough to hear him call a game like nobody else.

When I hear his call of Joe Carter's series-winning home run in '93, I still get goosebumps. "Touch 'em all, Joe, you'll never hit a bigger one than that!"
I'll miss you Tom, say hello to Lou Gherig for me.