ESPN’s ‘Hammering’ Hank Goldberg, Longtime NFL and Horse Racing Handicapper, Passes Away at 82

by Bryan Fyalkowski

Hank Goldberg, a mainstay on ESPN NFL broadcasts who served as a betting handicapper, died on Monday at the age of 82. He passed away at his home in Las Vegas after a long battle with chronic kidney disease.

Also known as “Hammering Hank,” ESPN says Goldberg was .500 or better in 15-of-17 seasons while predicting NFL games for the network. In addition to football, Goldberg was a horse racing expert as well.

ESPN had Goldberg on as a consistent contributor to the network’s Daily Wager program. Even at his age, he would still make appearances on shows during the NFL season and Triple Crown horse races. Goldberg’s final call into ESPN was prior to the Kentucky Derby in May.

A Brief Bio of ‘Hammering’ Hank

Hank Goldberg was born on July 4, 1940, in Newark, New Jersey. He moved to Miami at the age of 26 and established roots there. Goldberg was based out of Miami for a long time, where he served as a local television and radio host for over 25 years. He was the Dolphins’ color analyst from 1978-to-1992, then hosted a sports talk show at WQAM in Miami from 1993-to-2009.

He got a big break to begin his career as an assistant to the famous Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder in the 1970’s. Snyder asked Goldberg to ghostwrite his nationally-syndicated newspaper column, which appeared in more than 150 newspapers three times per week.

CBS Sports – whose shows Goldberg also appeared on during the tail-end of his media career – had a write-up of his life. Author Gene Menez says he lived a “Forrest Gump-like” life. He dated Katie Couric, played golf with Sandy Koufax, played poker against Doyle Brunson, partied with Dan Marino and hung out with Burt Reynolds.

To top it off, Goldberg almost got married to a Playboy bunny named Joyce.