As Rex Holt calls another Bedlam series this weekend, it marks 30 years he's been at the microphone spinning Cowboys baseball — as well as 26 years of wrestling — over the radio for those at home or wearing headphones in the crowd.
Following in the footsteps of his dad, Walon, Rex is one of five siblings to graduate from Oklahoma State.
His radio career started alongside the legendary Bill Platt and has blossomed since. A former newspaper man, he's made his mark on the radio delivering the details to a devoted following who like it only the way Rex tells it.
I have seen a lot, as the radio man. I can't believe this is 30 years already. Seems like the other day Bill Platt said, ‘Hey, why don't you come help me out?'
I know it sounds cliché, but Bill Platt was like a father figure. He's one of the legends in broadcasting in Oklahoma. KSPI was a forerunner. They were doing Cowboy football and basketball back in the day. And Bill did all the sports at one time.
To hear his wisdom every day and he had a great sense of humor, lots of hours and road miles together. But just a genuine, honest guy. And he absolutely loved baseball.
I grew up down in Randlett, Oklahoma, on the Red River. So I definitely had a big twang going there. Bill worked with me and helped me get over that. And also to help me get rid of some of the Okieisms. Some of it still leaks in there sometimes, but he was instrumental for me. I feel privileged to be able to carry on his legacy the best that I can.
I probably don't go a week without mentioning him on the broadcast.
I went to school at Oklahoma State out of Guthrie High School. My brother Ron was the sports editor at the Stillwater News-Press. And I worked for the O'Collegian. So I kind of learned the ropes and did a few stories. He taught me the ins and outs of sports writing.
There were three Holt boys at one time at the News-Press. We were the sports staff. And all four Holt boys at one time were sports writers there. I did get my degree in radio/TV, but my original background was in newspaper.
We were all marked at birth to go to Oklahoma State.
My dad, Walon, set the standard there. He was an Oklahoma State graduate. My brother Ron graduated from there. My brother Randy got a degree from there. Me and my sister and my little brother Tony, who's still the Stillwater High School baseball coach, all went to OSU.
Randlett, that's typical, small-town USA. The population was something like 375. It was a Class B school. Cotton County. Not a lot to do.
I grew up playing Little League Baseball in Burkburnett, Texas. That's where we shopped. We were the Randlett Gin, they called us. The gin mill sponsored us.
We'd go to Burkburnett or Wichita Falls on a big weekend, catch a movie or something. There was a lot of fishing and riding bicycles.
My dad was an Ag teacher, so we all grew up raising pigs and showing pigs at the county fair. We were all in FFA. That was a big part of our life. And of course in those little towns, everybody's in FFA and involved in something — showing cattle or pigs or sheep, plowing or bailing hay in the summer. That's just what you did.
We all played music, my dad and brothers. There were lots of band jobs over the years. The original name was the Electro-Tones. We always had a band. Even when we were in Thackerville, Randy was like 10, Ron was like 12. We've got film clips of them playing the FFA convention in Gallagher Hall back in the day.
I saw them open up for Roy Orbison and Jim Reeves and people like that when I was a little kid, in Wichita Falls or Lawton.
Once in a while, we still get a band job and go kick it around a little bit.
Gary Ward, to me he was great. People on the outside would see that stern exterior and he was a no-nonsense guy. We'd walk away from his news conferences and some guy would say, ‘How do you work with that S.O.B.?' Well, that's his persona. He was so competitive, too.
But he really had a great sense of humor. A regular guy from Ramona, Oklahoma, deep down.
It was a privilege to cover OSU baseball then. We went to Omaha seven years in a row and I didn't realize how good I had it. Winning the Big Eight Tournament all those years. I'd be making my reservations for Omaha in February.
That was a heckuva ride to be on. We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, we didn't get to win that one championship.
The 1990 game still sticks in my craw and will until the day they put me in the ground. That was the one you really felt they were the best team, didn't win, and that was one that got away. Should have been the crowning jewel.
It was a who's who of players at that time. I'm not sure we see players like we did back then. I did see Roger Clemens and Calvin Schiraldi and Mike Mussina and Jack McDowell, you saw all those guys on other teams. Coming through Oklahoma State were (Mickey) Tettleton and (Robin) Ventura and (Pete) Incaviglia, some of the greatest players who ever played college baseball.
It was just unbelievable, the talent that came through here. And to be a part of that. It's still mind-boggling. You don't appreciate it, like anything else, when it's going on. Then when you get older you look back and go, ‘Wow.'
(The best baseball player), well, Ventura or Pete. Ventura was the best overall player, Pete was the best hitter by far. I go back and look at the numbers and think, ‘Did I see that?' It sounds like Paul Bunyan, something that was made up.
As far as offense and defense and everything else, probably Robin was the best overall player I saw. But Pete was the Player of the Century, Robin was the Player of the Decade. So we'll call it a tie.
When I first started calling wrestling (for the radio), I didn't know how. Jack Griffith gave homespun stories, ‘He's hunkered up like a toad in a hailstorm,' those kind of phrases. I wasn't going to do that.
At first, I got a little too technical. I used all the phrases for all the moves that you learn out of the textbooks. But there's a lot of older people out there who follow Cowboy wrestling, they didn't know a soufflé from whatever. Bill Platt would say, ‘Just describe what they're doing.' I kind of took that to heart and started doing it that way.
It's a totally different sport than baseball, but flow wise, not a whole lot different. You've got some time to talk in there.
There's no coincidence why John Smith was the best. They want it more than you do. That's the way he was as a wrestler, for my money, the best wrestler America's ever produced. And as a coach, he's the same way.