Baseball has always been a huge part of Renel Brooks-Moon’s life. As a young girl growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, her parents Nathaniel and Juanita planned family outings around San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics home games. Yet never in her wildest dreams did Brooks-Moon envision she would one day be announcing baseball games for the San Francisco Giants.
Fifteen years ago, Brooks-Moon created her own baseball legacy when she was named the public address announcer for the San Francisco Giants. Although she had already established herself as one of the Bay Area’s most popular on-air radio personalities, with a morning show on 98.1 KISS-FM, and a career spanning over 25 years, becoming the only black female PA announcer in Major League Baseball, was, she says, “a dream come true.”
“My grandfather was a big fan of Negro League baseball and taught my mom how to score games, and she in turn taught me,” Brooks-Moon says. “But to be in the PA booth actually announcing the games, is amazing. For me, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about being a trailblazer, for lack of a better word.”
Rooting for the Home Team
For avid Giants fans, Brooks-Moon has become an integral part of the game day experience as she calls out every player’s name before their at-bat, keeps fans informed of changes in the lineup, and makes other announcements before, during and after the games. Over the course of 15 years, Brooks-Moon has even established her own fan following, with many ticket holders gathering after each game to form a makeshift receiving line outside of her PA booth.
“I look at my role with the Giants as being a host at the game,” Brooks-Moon says. “I welcome fans, offer them a play-by-play during the game and then bid them farewell and a safe journey home.”
In addition to her PA duties, Brooks-Moon serves as a community ambassador for the Giants, attending promotional and charitable events with players during the baseball season. For the past two years, she has also appeared in a series of humorous Toyota commercials with Giants catcher, Buster Posey.
Part of the Giants Dynasty
Over the past 15 years, Brooks-Moon has celebrated many milestones: her scorecard from Game 3 of the 2002 World Series is now on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and that same year, the Giants unveiled a talking bobblehead doll in her likeness.
“Many PA announcers have spent years in the PA booth and have never gotten the chance to announce a World Series,” Brooks-Moon says. “I feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of four World Series (2002, 2010, 2012, and 2014).”
In 2010, Brooks-Moon’s public address duties earned her a World Series ring. With the Giants clinching their third World Championship in October, she was awarded her third World Series ring on April 18, at a ring ceremony held prior to the Giants game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Giants president Larry Baer surprised me by coming into the PA booth and presenting me with a 2014 World Series ring,” Brooks-Moon says. “They captured the moment on camera and showed it to fans on the stadium’s scoreboard.”
The celebration continues in June when Brooks-Moon will accompany the Giants to the White House where President Obama will congratulate the team on their World Series win. Brooks-Moon counts the team’s 2012 visit to the White House among her favorite memories.
“I broke my kneecap right before we left for Washington D.C., but there was no way I was going to miss that trip,” she says. “At the awards ceremony, I was in a wheelchair and was speechless when President Obama complimented me on doing a good job.”
Today, Brooks-Moon, 56, has one of the best seats at AT&T Park. From her broadcast booth, she has a bird’s-eye view of not only the field, but also of the San Francisco Bay, just beyond the outfield. On her desk sits a figurine of Joe Black, a Negro League ballplayer and the first African-American pitcher to win a World Series game. For Brooks-Moon, it serves both as a good luck charm and a reminder of how far she’s come.
“My dad was a civil rights activist who was named San Francisco’s first black high school principal in 1969 and he broke down so many barriers during his career,” says Brooks-Moon. “I hope that my work can also help open the door for more women of color, and encourage them to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.”