The gambling world lost a giant Monday. Hank Goldberg, best known for his work with ESPN and Miami sports radio and television outlets, passed away from kidney disease at his home in Las Vegas.
Goldberg, 82, made Florida his home for more than 30 years. He spent 14 of them as a commentator for the Miami Dolphins.
While sports betting has always been illegal in Goldberg’s longtime home state (save for a brief stretch in 2021), that didn’t stop the man known as “Hammerin’ Hank” from making waves in the field. He worked for Vegas stalwart Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder in the mid-1970s and also collaborated with Brent Musberger when he hosted “The NFL Today.”
Celebrating Goldberg’s long career
Goldberg was born into the sports media industry. His father covered the New York Yankees in the early 20th century.
It was only natural he, too, would go into communications. His work with Snyder included serving as his ghostwriter for nationally-published columned, for which he was nicknamed “the Greek’s Ghost.”
In 1978, he started a radio talk show in Miami. That was just one of many hats he wore. In addition to that show, he worked Dolphins broadcasts and served as a regular presence on WTVJ, Miami’s CBS affiliate.
Hank joined ESPN in 1993 and began covering football and horse racing for the “worldwide leader in sports.” At the same time, he started hosting a Miami radio show on WQAM, which lasted for 16 years.
Hank’s gambling exploits and legacy
It’s not easy being a public handicapper, but Goldberg proved to be an astute one.
He predicted NFL games for ESPN for 17 seasons. His record was a winning one in 15 of them. In addition, he had a number of public scores at the racetrack, including one at the 2004 Belmont Stakes.
As he explained to Horse Racing Nation, Goldberg got a tip on 36-1 longshot Birdstone from trainer Nick Zito prior to the race:
“Nick kept talking about how well his horse had been training at Saratoga, so I used him on a number of my tickets. I hit the triple, the exacta and superfecta and it came back a little over $21,000.”
A release from former employer ESPN included several glowing quotes. One of them came from legendary broadcaster Chris Berman:
“Hank was a bigger part of ESPN’s soul than anyone will ever know. His information made us smarter. His insight made us wiser. His friendship made us better people. Rest in peace Hammer, and thank you from all of us.”