Sports Broadcasters autobiographies

Gather around for news and rumors about the industry
Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 8:48 am

Sports Broadcasters autobiographies

#1 Post by jzweygardt » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:47 pm

I've been assigned to read a couple of Sports Broadcasters autobiographies for my graduate studies and I was wondering if anybody had any suggestions. I know that there are a lot out there but I want to get something from them and I was thinking some of you might be able to help. Thanks

Posts: 704
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:13 pm

#2 Post by Marky » Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:24 am

Voices of the Game by Curt Smith isn't a singular biography but rather a bunch of career histories of seemingly every sportscaster to ever call baseball and is very good.

"Give Me A Break" by Warner Wolf is probably one you'd like to avoid, though I loved the picture of him with Willie Stargell.

I enjoyed "Hello, Everybody! I'm Lindsey Nelson!" Sure it talks about 1940 Tennessee Volunteers football and hitch-hiking to Chicago and sleeping in the park to cover a game as a spotter starting out, but it is a great life story.

I think anything by Howard Cosell is very good. It's true he speaks more about the status of sports rather than himself- no- check that- Howard Cosell could NEVER take himself out of a story!

Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:07 pm

#3 Post by RickCole » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:06 am

Red Barber's autobiography (Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat, I think) is's older but Red developed the fundamentals we use it's a fascinating look at the early days of baseball broadcasting.

Rick Cole

Posts: 421
Joined: Tue Feb 13, 2007 8:32 pm
The middle number please (4738): 0
Location: CT

#4 Post by PhilGiubileo » Mon Nov 24, 2008 8:19 am

If if you can find Marty Glickman's "The Fastest Kid on the Block", that is a fast read and a great PBP primer from one of the all-time legends in PBP, who is credited with inventing much of the geography that is used for describing basketball games today!

Stu Paul
Posts: 190
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 2:47 pm
The middle number please (4738): 0
Location: Nashville, TN

#5 Post by Stu Paul » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:34 pm


I have 3 of the books you mentioned. Curt Smith did an outstanding job with "Voices of the Game". When I read those fascinating stories on the various roads that the "BIG" names in announcing took to get to the promised land, it gave everyone hope.

I grew up with Lindsey Nelson while he did the Mets games on both radio and television in the 1960s and 1970s, especially when Channel 9 was just "WOR-TV" and not "WWOR-TV". It was nice that you had one crew with Lindsey, Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner, doing BOTH RADIO and TELEVISION, which is quite a rarity nowadays in major league baseball announcing. One aspect of Lindsey was his zany and crazy multi-colored sports jackets that were his trademark, especially when he did the Mets games and greeted everyone with his "Hello Everybody...". Most of the time, he would open up the Mets' telecasts on Channel 9 in New York City. He and his family spent many years living out on Long Island, in Huntington, but also spent his last several years in New York City with a fashionable apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side after his wife, Micki, had passed away suddenly in the early 1970s.

I spoke to Lindsey while I was on a road trip to Knoxville while broadcasting for the Jacksonville Suns. This was back in the early 90s. His number was in the phone book and I knew that it would be a bit dicey for someone to hear from a perfect and total stranger. I took the chance. Lindsey answered the phone and I admit was nervous as heck. I introduced myself and told him that I was in town as the Suns' announcer and told him that I listened to him while he did the Mets games and we talked about 1969 and all. Guess what? He could NOT have been any nicer. He was so happy that I called and he was very encouraging over the phone. I did mail him a nice letter and our program (I wanted to let him know that I was "legit"). On our next trip to Knoxville, I called him again and he immediately thanked me for the program. He told me about 1969, "Stu, there can be only one first time, like your first date, your first car and your first graduation and something like 1969 will never ever be duplicated because of the way the Mets won and the newness I felt for the first time". He was right. Lindsey said that in "Voices of the Game" when Curt interviewed him. He told me to hang in there when it comes to moving up. Even though his voice was weak when I spoke to him, there was no mistaking his voice, which I could easily recognize. It was Lindsey alright. He told me that working with Bob and Ralph was the best experience of his life. He loved being friends with Tom Seaver. The only thing that was sad was that the Parkinson's disease that had inflicted him, was kicking in more and I tried to invite him out to Bill Meyer Stadium as a guest. That was where the Blue Jays were playing (their AA affiliate, that is). John Stearns, the ex-Met was their manager and Lindsey told me that John would call him once a week to check up on him and see how he was doing. Lindsey told me he would have loved to join me, but his disease and illness prevented him from doing so. I finally did say thank you and goodbye to him. Tears nearly rolled down my cheeks after that. Not because he politely declined my quest to join me, but because the disease was slowing him down a lot and that I felt part of my life was over since I knew he would never call another Mets game or any sporting event again. He was already retired, but I knew his days were numbered. He was 72 when I first called him back then in 1991 and it would be the very last time I would ever speak with him. Sadly, that crisp and distinct voice with that slight southern drawl and twang (yes, he was from Tennessee and he retired to and lived in Knoxville, Tennessee since he went to that school and had many friends there) was silenced for good four years later on June 14, 1995, when Lindsey Nelson passed away at the age of 76. Although he is gone, he will never be forgotten. He was part of my youth. To the majority of the country, he was the voice of football: college football, the Cotton Bowl, Notre Dame Football and the NFL. But to us New Yorkers, he was the voice of summer, having broadcast for the New York Mets for almost 20 years. Lindsey was part of the Miracle Mets' 1969 World Championship season and the 1973 Mets NL Pennant winning season. No doubt that 1969 was his favorite part of his career. He would later move out to the West Coast and the City by the Bay, San Francisco, where he would broadcast for the Giants on BOTH RADIO AND TV for about 3 years.

No matter how big Lindsey's name was, he was so "warm, nice and so down to earth" and I will never forget his friendliness for that. He will be a part of my life forever. May God Bless you, Lindsey and continue to Rest In Peace! You are still missed to this day!

Mike McBride
Posts: 40
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 6:18 pm
The middle number please (4738): 0
Location: KWED-Seguin, TX

#6 Post by Mike McBride » Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:39 pm

I'd suggest "Play-by-Play - Tales From a Sports Broadcasting Insider" by Bill Mercer. Bill has been the voice of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, and University of North Texas over the course of his career (in addition to hosting professional wrestling on television), and taught sports broadcasting for decades at North Texas. It's a great read on his experiences in the early days of the industry (believe me - we have it EASY compared to the older guys), and he interjects some of his philosophies on the do's & don'ts of the trade throughout the book. Good stories about many of the players & coaches he got to know as well.

Posts: 704
Joined: Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:13 pm

#7 Post by Marky » Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:24 pm

You know something Stu-

Your story about Lindsey Nelson is great.

And it doesn't surprise me one bit. It seems like everything I ever heard about the guy went along those lines.

Side note on Nelson- I was told by old-time players from those old Tennessee Volunteers teams that if it wasn't for Nelson, they would not have been eligible to play. He tutored the entire team.

It's also why I hate Bob Neyland. I realize this is a little like saying "I hate Knute Rockne"- he's a historical figure- but Neyland once threatened to castrate Nelson if he told any of his "secret" information about his team out.

Nicest guy in the world- Nelson- is being threatened like that for no reason.

Post Reply