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

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

by Curt Smith


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597976701
Publisher: Potomac Books
Publication date: 07/31/2011
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Curt Smith is the author of seventeen books, including the classic history of baseball broadcasting, Voices of The Game. His other books include: Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story (Potomac Books, 2009), Mercy! A Celebration of Fenway Park’s Centennial (Potomac Books, 2012), and most recently, George H. W. Bush: Character at the Core (Potomac Books, 2014). Smith is a senior lecturer of English at the University of Rochester, a Gate House Media columnist, and a contributor to publications from Newsweek to the New York Times. The host of the “Voices of The Game” series at the Smithsonian Institution and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, he has been named to the Judson Welliver Society of former presidential speechwriters.

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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