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The way Greg Schulte remembers it, his tiny hometown of Silvis, Ill., was so small, it wasn’t big enough for a kid to get into any kind of trouble. But it had everything a young boy could want.

And it all led to tonight (Wednesday night), when Schulte will call his 3,000th game in the Diamondbacks booth in San Diego against the Padres.

In Silvis, there was the soda fountain parlor on the corner, the ice cream shop down the block, a bike store somewhere in the middle and of course, a baseball field at the park.

“All the kids in my neighborhood played baseball,” Schulte, the longtime radio play-by-play voice of the Diamondbacks, recalled. “We’d get up early in the morning during the summer and we’d play baseball until either the mosquitos got too bad at night or it got too dark to see.”

In between, Schulte spent the rest of his free time listening to baseball on the radio, particularly broadcasts of St. Louis Cardinals games, as called by the great Harry Caray and Jack Buck.

“Early on, I dreamt of being Stan Musial or one of the Cardinals,” Schulte said, “but my fascination was listening to Cardinals baseball. I’d listen from the dugout interview pregame show, through the game and through the postgame show just to hear highlights from a game I just listened to for three hours.

“That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to broadcast St. Louis Cardinals baseball. I wanted to be the next Harry Caray or the next Jack Buck.”

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Ultimately, that’s exactly what happened for the kid from Silvis. After relocating to the Valley and starting a family, Schulte dedicated himself to a career in radio. He spent several years at KTAR, calling Arizona State basketball and baseball games and also served as a color commentator during Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix Suns broadcasts.

Schulte was at the radio station when Jerry Colangelo, who was in the process of landing a major league expansion team, offered him a job as the as-of-yet-unnamed franchise’s lead radio play-by-play job.

“I was kind of taken aback,” Schulte said. “It was really a big moment that I’ll always remember, finally getting to do something that I always wanted to do.”

He’s been with the Diamondbacks ever since.

Three-thousand games. What do you give a guy who’s called 3,000 baseball games for the same team? A golden microphone, perhaps?

“That would be kind of a nice,” Schulte said during a phone interview from San Diego on Wednesday morning. “That would be really nice, actually. In fact, we were just in LA and I think they’re going to have a Vin Scully Microphone night that they’re going to give to the first 20,000 fans or something.

“But yeah, a golden microphone, eh? That would be kind of neat.”

Actually, all Greg Schulte needs is more baseball and more Diamondbacks games to broadcast alongside color commentator Tom Candiotti, his fourth partner in 20 years after working with Rod Allen, Victor Rojas and Ken Phelps.

“I owe a lot to those guys and especially Thom Brennaman and Bob Brenly,” Schulte said, referring to the former and present Diamondbacks television announcers. “They mentored me and helped me get my feet wet the first year or two. … I owe a lot to a lot of people – Jerry Colangelo, Rich Dozer, Scott Brubaker, Derrick Hall.”

Schulte joked he still isn’t sure what to make out of broadcasting 3,000 games. It almost seems surreal to him.

“I think what I take the most pride in,” he said, “is it’s been 3,000 games and 20 years with one team. That shows some longevity and I guess I must be doing something right.”

Schulte figures he’s missed about 100 games over the years for various reasons, including a pair of cancer scares in 1992 and ’94. He missed only one game during the first five or six years and that was so he could attend his son’s high school graduation.

“As time went on, I began taking a series off here or there,” Schulte said. “But I don’t like missing ballgames. I was always afraid I was going to miss something special when I took a day off. You know, maybe I’d miss a no-hitter or a triple play or we’d go on a long winning streak or something like that.”

Schulte, 65, never missed any of the big moments. He was there in Atlanta in 2004 when Randy Johnson became the oldest pitcher to ever throw a perfect game. He was there in Tampa in 2010 when Edwin Jackson threw the second no-hitter in franchise history, which was one of the most peculiar no-hitters ever. Jackson threw 149 pitches, walked eight batters and hit another.

Ask him for his favorite memory along the way and Schulte will state the obvious.

“That would be Gonzo’s hit in the World Series,” he said. “That’s a pretty easy one right there. But that whole postseason in 2001 was special.”

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Every game behind the microphone is magical for Greg Schulte. Each time he steps into the broadcast booth, it takes him home and makes him think of those long summer days as a young boy with the transistor next to his ear listening to Harry Caray and Jack Buck.

“There was just some fascination with just shutting my eyes and just imagining Sportsman’s Park or Wrigley Field or old Forbes Field or new Dodger Stadium at that time,” Schulte said. “It could be anywhere like Crosley Field in Cincinnati and dreaming of being there and watching baseball and talking about it.

“In ’98 when we became a ball club, I’ll never forget that time in St. Louis when Jack pulled me aside and asked me if he could do an interview with me. And for a kid growing up in a town of about 2,500 in western Illinois who was a big Cardinals fan, that’s still a thrill of a lifetime for me – Jack Buck interviewing me for one of the dugout interview shows in St. Louis.”

Schulte can’t say how many more games and how many more years he’ll be calling games for the Diamondbacks. The thought has crossed his mind a lot, however, in the days leading up to his 3,000th broadcast.

“I don’t know. I just knock on wood and hopefully, God lets me do as many as I can possibly do,” he said. “I’m not going to set a number. I’m not going to a year. But 3,000 games is pretty special and hopefully, we can keep it going and get back to another World Series one day.”

Reach McManaman at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @azbobbymac and listen to him live every Wednesday night between 7-9 on Fox Sports 910-AM on The Freaks with Kenny and Crash.

Thursday’s game

Diamondbacks at Padres

When: 6:10 p.m.

Where: Petco Park, San Diego.

Pitchers: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (1-2, 2.81) vs. Padres LHP Clayton Richard (1-2, 3.60).

TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Corbin was in trouble throughout much of his start last week at Dodger Stadium, but he managed to navigate his way through six innings, giving up five runs (three earned). … He has just seven strikeouts and seven walks in 16 innings. … Corbin logged 13 2/3 innings against the Padres last season, posting a 3.95 ERA with six walks and 14 strikeouts. … Richard tossed eight scoreless innings against the Dodgers in his first start of the season but has allowed four earned runs over six innings in each of the past two. … Richard, who split last season between the Cubs and Padres, faced the Diamondbacks three times and had solid results, posting a 3.24 ERA in 16 2/3 innings. … Richard has a three-pitch mix, with a fastball around 90 mph, a slider and a change-up.

Coming up

Friday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (2-1, 3.94) vs. Dodgers LHP Alex Wood (1-0, 1.00).

Saturday: At Chase Field, 5:10 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (1-0, 1.96) vs. Dodgers RHP Kenta Maeda (1-1, 7.07).

Sunday: At Chase Field, 1:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Shelby Miller (2-1,3.50) vs. Dodgers RHP Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 2.12).

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