HOUSTON, TX - The Astros announced today that the radio team of Robert Ford and Steve Sparks will return for an eighth consecutive season in 2020. Hear them call every game on your home for Astros baseball, SportsTalk790.
The popular duo has become a staple with Astros fans in the Greater Houston area and beyond, having called some of the most memorable moments in franchise history since their debut in the Astros radio booth in 2013. Including 2019, the Astros have made the postseason in four of the past five seasons, and Robert and “Sparky” have been there for every single playoff game. The two made several calls during the Astros 2017 Championship run that will be remembered forever by Astros fans, including the final moments of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium, the epic, walk-off Game 5 World Series victory, and the dramatic ALCS, Game 7, pennant-winning victory over the Yankees.
Ford and Sparks have also been a part of several historic, record-setting moments in the regular season as well, including three no-hitters, Verlander’s 200th career win and 3,000th career strikeout, Zack Greinke’s 200th career win, Jose Altuve’s memorable 2017 MVP season and three batting titles and more.
Ford, who handles the play-by-play duties, joined the Astros in February of 2013. In that span, he has twice been a finalist for the Esurance MLB Award for “Best Call, TV/Radio.” One of those was for his unforgettable call of Alex Bregman’s walk-off, RBI-single in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series. Prior to joing the Astros, Ford served as the pre- and postgame radio host for the Kansas City Royals from 2009-12. Prior to his stint with the Royals, he earned valuable experience broadcasting minor league baseball for seven seasons, calling more than 800 games in that span. Ford’s minor league resume includes stops in Binghamton, Kalamazoo and Yakima. Ford has also been recognized for his work in the minor leagues, twice earning Frontier Broadcaster of the Year honors (2003-04).
Sparks, or “Sparky”, as he is affectionately known among friends and Astros fans, was a pre- and postgame television analyst for Astros TV broadcasts for several seasons before joining Ford in the radio booth as color analyst in 2013. Sparks quickly became a hit among Astros fans due to his quick wit and vast knowledge of the game. His live interviews of clubhouse celebrations have been a huge hit, displaying his off-beat humor and solid relationship with Astros players.
Prior to his broadcasting career, Sparks spent parts of nine seasons in the Major Leagues as a knuckle pitcher for the Brewers, Angels, Tigers, A’s and Diamondbacks between 1995-2004. His best season was in 2001 with Detroit, when he went 14-9 in 35 appearances (33 starts) with a 3.65 ERA and ML-best eight complete games. His career-high 232.0 innings ranked fourth in the AL. Sparks starred at Sam Houston State University prior to his pro career.