A Talk in the Park: Nine Decades of Baseball Tales from the Broadcast Booth

Overview

Since radio's debut in the 1920s and television's in the ’30s, the baseball announcer has become entertainer, observer, and extended member of the family. In A Talk in the Park: Nine Decades of Baseball Tales from the Broadcast Booth, many of the pastime's most popular and famous announcers—the Voices—tell their favorite stories in their own distinctive words. It is riveting oral history.

Herein is the largest total of active and retired broadcasters featured in any sports book:...

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A Talk in the Park: Nine Decades of Baseball Tales from the Broadcast Booth

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Overview

Since radio's debut in the 1920s and television's in the ’30s, the baseball announcer has become entertainer, observer, and extended member of the family. In A Talk in the Park: Nine Decades of Baseball Tales from the Broadcast Booth, many of the pastime's most popular and famous announcers—the Voices—tell their favorite stories in their own distinctive words. It is riveting oral history.

Herein is the largest total of active and retired broadcasters featured in any sports book: 116. Its radio and TV tales include every major-league team and such networks as ESPN, Fox, TBS, and the new MLB channel, and capture the Voices commenting on ballparks, managers, the characters of the game, umpires, special teams, interleague play, improvements to the game—and on one another, including the beloved Ernie Harwell, who died in 2010 and to whom the book is dedicated.

Here are Bob Wolff airing the longest-ever wild pitch Howie Rose using the 1969 Mets to pass a high school exam, and Charley Steiner telling why George Steinbrenner "hired" Jason Giambi. Denny Matthews recalls George Scott’s faux uniform number 6-4-3. Ken Harrelson defends his one-handed catch: "With bad hands like mine, one hand was better than two." Eduardo Ortega announces for his mother, who is deaf. Pat Hughes remembers when Harry Caray called a game with a tea bag dangling from his ear. Voices hail Lou Piniella: dressed, undressed, volatile, and lovable.

Columnist Christine Brennan says of author Curt Smith: "No one knows baseball broadcasters as well as he does." In particular, A Talk in the Park addresses trends of the past two decades—the rise of Hispanic and other minority announcers, interleague play, ex-jocks' warp-speed climb, whiz-bang technology, 24/7 coverage, and the evolution of broadcasting, from radio to network television to cable.

Told by baseball's leading broadcast historian, endorsed by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame, and starring announcers who reach millions, A Talk in the Park brilliantly relates what baseball was, is, and is likely to become.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Another tour de force from baseball’s Boswell. Curt Smith has produced a compelling anecdotal history of the national pastime through the lens of its announcers. This is storytelling at its most masterful—an anecdotist’s dream."—Tom DeFrank, New York Daily News

"Baseball broadcasting’s top chronicler knows a good story when he hears one. A Talk in the Park shares great tales from the booth. Who knew that Fenway Park’s rough-and-ready fans would serenade Oklahoma-born Joe Simpson with the title song from the Broadway musical that bears his home state’s name? Curt Smith did, and now you will, too.”—Phil Mushnick, New York Post

"Curt Smith has authored classic books like Voices of the Game, forged ESPN TV and Smithsonian Institution programs, and written more speeches than anyone for President George H. W. Bush. His latest work includes more Voices than in any sports book, ever. Amazing.”—Bruce DuMont, president, National Radio Hall of Fame

"We’ve listened to announcers as they’ve brought baseball to life on the air. Now we get to revel in the stories we’ve often never heard them tell—until now. Curt Smith has knocked it out of the park again."—Christine Brennan, USA Today

"Baseball is a game of stories. This book includes hundreds of baseball tales from dozens of well-known broadcasters. Your favorite players are all in here. This book will delight all those who cherish our game. You will laugh, smile, grimace, and even groan. But you will be sad only when it ends."—Fay Vincent, former Major League Baseball commissioner

"Curt Smith has gone deep again—over the wall into the game’s broadcasting essence—telling stories. With a ball in play as little as eight minutes in a three-hour game, filling dead spots with anecdotes is essential. With our nomadic lifestyle, these terrific stories involve happenings on and off the field."—Joe Castiglione, Boston Red Sox radio announcer

"The author’s newest work is a pure, unadulterated pleasure: an adult gift for that kid in so many of us who grew up glued to the words that wafted from baseball’s broadcast booth. It amounts to an epic of oral history."—Paul Dickson, author of The Presidents’ Game

"Curt Smith has added to his bundle of superb books on baseball broadcasting. Baseball is perfect for storytelling: there’s always plenty of time to say what you want in the course of a game. These stories will make you marvel. If you love baseball, this book is for you."—Pat Hughes, Chicago Cubs radio announcer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597976701
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/31/2011
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 835,240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

CURT SMITH is a senior lecturer of English at the University of Rochester, a GateHouse Media columnist, and the author of sixteen books, including the classic Voices of the Game. He has written for such publications as Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Washington Post and has been named to the prestigious Judson Welliver Society of former presidential speechwriters.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

The Voices 1

1 A Little Child 29

2 Present at the Creation 43

3 The Play[er]'s the Thing 55

4 Dugout Man 81

5 Unordinary Joes 101

6 The Sum of Its Parts 115

7 The Wonder of Being Ernie 135

8 The Office 145

9 The Great Deciders 161

10 Safe Harbor 169

11 Our House 195

12 We Shall Overcome 213

13 Make 'em Laugh 233

14 That Vision Thing 249

15 Baseball on My Mind 265

16 Anything You Can Do 279

Sources 289

Index 291

About the Author 307

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