Angels’ play-by-play man found dead at 54

Rory Markas, a play-by-play sportscaster who spent the past eight seasons with the Los Angeles Angels, has died. He was 54.

Markas was found dead at his home in Palmdale on Monday and the cause of death was not immediately available, Angels spokesman Tim Mead said Tuesday. Markas had surgery for a blood clot on his brain in late 2008.

He also was the voice of the USC men’s basketball team and a reporter and sportscaster for KTTV-TV in Los Angeles. USC also had no details on his death.

Markas called Angels games on both television and radio, and was best known for celebrating the club’s wins with his signature line: "Just another Halo victory!" Last month, Markas was named the Angels’ lead television broadcaster for the upcoming season.

Markas was in his 12th season as the radio play-by-play voice of USC, most recently calling the Trojans’ victory over Arizona State on Saturday night.

"We held him and the outstanding broadcasting work he did for us in the highest regard," USC athletic director Mike Garrett said. "He was a consummate professional and a well-loved individual. He’ll be a very difficult person to replace. We want to extend our support and condolences to his family."

After a busy, varied broadcasting career that included a four-season stint with the Los Angeles Clippers in the 1990s, Markas joined the Angels just in time for their run to their only championship. Many remember his call to end Game 7 of the 2002 World Series when outfielder Darin Erstad circled under the San Francisco Giants’ final fly ball: "Erstad says he’s got it! Erstad makes the catch! The Anaheim Angels are the champions of baseball!"

Markas also worked for the Milwaukee Brewers for parts of 11 seasons and spent six years calling Pacific Coast League baseball. The San Fernando Valley native also had been a sports reporter for KNX Radio, and appeared on television with KCBS and Prime Ticket in Los Angeles.

"Rory was one of the great professionals in the business," said Jim Hefner, the color analyst on USC basketball broadcasts. "But more importantly, he was one of the nicest, kindest people I’ve ever been around. I’m sure that everyone who worked with him will truly miss him. He was one-of-a-kind."

Markas was honored with two Associated Press Sportscasting awards and received the 2008 Radio Play-by-Play Award from the Southern California Sports Broadcasters Association.

Markas is survived by his mother, Billie, and brothers Gary and Troy.