Voices of Summer

Voices of Summer: Ranking Baseball’s 101 All-Time Best Announcers  (Carroll & Graff, 2005, 410 pages) rates the men who often become more memorable than the games they describe. “The boys of summer come and go. The voices of summer stay with you for a lifetime,” wrote Jayson Stark. For anyone who follows the pastime, this book is essential to any baseball year.

Curt Smith uses criteria including continuity, longevity, awards, and network coverage to compare Voices. All 30 major-league teams boast at least one announcer. The Yankees have the most (21), trailed closely by the San Francisco/New York Giants (16), Chicago White Sox (15), Atlanta/Milwaukee/Boston Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox (13 each), Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers (11), and Oakland/Kansas City/Philadelphia A’s, and St. Louis Cardinals (10).

Smith’s 101 all-time announcers, each rated by a point system, include national celebrities, local favorites, and upcoming stars. “You’re the only link between public and the game,” said Curt Gowdy. “You want to talk about a fat lady in a yellow hat sitting in the stands, or about the players, the sky, the weather, you’re a wild bird. You’re free.”

Voices of Summer is a book sure to free a baseball fan of any age.