Hank Goldberg, betting specialist and sports radio star, dies at 82

Joe Zagaki, one of Mr. Goldberg’s producers at WIOD recalled in a phone interview one day when “Hank had an argument with a caller – he had one of the volcanic explosions – and I was like, ‘Oh my God, you just beat that guy up.’ You “hit Hank Goldberg with a hammer.”

The nickname stuck. After he started working for ESPN in 1993, Mr. Goldberg began banging the gavel on the table in the studio to express his disagreement with a colleague or his contempt for a sports figure. He called himself “Hammer”.

He originally appeared on ESPN2, which was new at the time and attempted to reach a younger audience with hosts who dressed in a casual, cool style. Not Mr. Goldberg, who certainly wasn’t tough, but brought a quirky and sassy personality to the network, although that was more congenial than his straightforward radio demeanor.

“Hank could fit into any genre; he could fit anywhere, said Susie Kolber, a longtime ESPN anchor and reporter who has worked with Mr. Goldberg on ESPN2 and in Florida. Include him in the horse racing crowd or ESPN2 group. He fit right in.”

Henry Edward Goldberg was born July 4, 1940 in Newark and grew up in South Orange, New Jersey. His mother, Sadie (Abben) Goldberg, was a housewife; his father, High was a sportswriter for The Newark Evening News.. Goldberg often took his wife and children to the Yankees’ spring training in Florida, where the young Hank befriended Joe DiMaggio, who called him “Henry,” “Miss.” Goldberg said in an interview.

At age 17, Mr. Goldberg entered the racetrack for the first time and won $450 when he hit the daily double in Monmouth Park, New Jersey. When he brought his winnings home, he recalls, his father told him, “Oh, now you’re in trouble.” This year in an interview with The Las Vegas Review-Journal he added, “He knew I would never get over my love of racing.”