While Phil Mushnick made note of Jerry Girard’s passing Monday morning, the sad news only hit the AP wire this evening (link courtesy Wojohowicz, who adds, “seemed like most of the early ESPN anchors lifted Girard’s schtick , with half the laughs & twice the smarm.”)

Jerry Girard, a sports broadcaster for WPIX-TV in New York from 1974 to 1995, died Sunday in Hawthorne, N.Y. He was 74.

He was a disc jockey in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Gary, Ind.; and Altoona, Pa., before returning to New York as a record librarian at WNEW radio. He moved to WPIX as a news writer before becoming the station™s sports voice.

His nightly television appearances to describe the day™s sports happenings were characterized by frequent acidic commentary, invariably delivered with a straight face.

Girard, who resigned from WPIX in 1995 after his weeknight shift was given to Sal Marciano, was a genuine treasure during an era in which the nightly sports highlights on broadcast TV had far greater import than today. Long before ESPN invaded every home, and years before WFAN pioneered a yack radio format that now exists in most major U.S. cities, the odd bit of commentary from the likes of Girard (along with Bob Lobel on Boston’s WBZ, was very much ahead of its time.

The Journal News notes that friends may make memorial contributions in Girard’s name to: Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester, 95 S. Broadway, Fourth Floor, White Plains, NY 10601.