By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
CONEY ISLAND — Warner Fusselle, 68, the radio voice of the Brooklyn Cyclones since the team played its first game in 2001, died Sunday night of an apparent heart attack at the Hackensack (N.J.) Medical Center.
Fusselle was also known for his work on CBS-TV’s “This Week in Baseball” during the 1980s and ’90s. On that show, he worked with broadcasting legend Mel Allen and filled in for Allen when needed.
He only missed one or two games during his 11 years with the Cyclones, according to the team. The games were broadcast on WKRB, 90.3 FM, the radio station of Kingsborough Community College, but were heard all over the country thanks to the Internet.
“When families of team members came to town to see them play, one of the first people they wanted to meet was Warner Fusselle, because they had heard him broadcasting the games,” said Cyclones spokesman Billy Harner.
He added that Fusselle also went on the road with the team and broadcast away games as well as home games. When BCAT-TV occasionally broadcast Cyclones games, Fusselle announced for them as well.
“Warner was very popular, and we had a Warner Fusselle bobblehead doll in 2005,” Harner recalled.
Indeed, in August of that year, the Cyclones’ KeySpan Park (now MCU Park) held a special Warner Fusselle Bobblehead Doll Night, and 2,500 dolls were given out to fans.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Fusselle served in Korea during the Vietnam War. One of his main influences as a young broadcaster, says Harner, was Red Barber, who had been the voice of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and early ’50s but later moved over to the Yankees.
Before joining the Cyclones, “The Fuse,” as he was called, also announced games for the Baltimore Orioles, the minor-league Richmond Braves and Seton Hall Pirates basektball. He was a graduate of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.
“There is no one who knew more, or cared more, about baseball in Brooklyn than Warner,” said Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen. “We lost someone who was very much a part of the team.”
Borough President Marty Markowitz added, "For fans of our beloved Brooklyn Cyclones, the voice of Warner Fusselle has been silenced after 11 years of passionate and knowledgeable play-by-play from the ‘Catbird Seat’ at MCU Park and, before that, KeySpan Park on Coney Island. Fusselle was a native Kentuckian raised in Georgia, but Brooklynites embraced him as one of their own after he became the voice of the Cyclones at their very beginning in 2001."
Fusselle was also an avid collector of baseball and rock-and-roll memorabilia.
He is survived by his sister, Alicia Fusselle, and two nephews, Max Hyde and Warner Hyde. Funeral services have yet to be announced.
Cohen said the team has not yet decided the details of finding another announcer.