Voices of the Game

For more than nine decades, broadcasters have largely formed the spine of baseball’s appeal to the Republic. Be it an entire family gathered around the radio to hear Red Barber’s depiction of Duke Snider finding Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue or today’s remote control-wielding television fan flipping from Fox’s Joe Buck to The Baseball Network’s Bob Costas, each medium has been the welcome beckoner of a thousand afternoons.

In 1992, Curt Smith’s monumental work, Voices of The Game: The Acclaimed Chronicle of Baseball Radio and Television Broadcasting—from 1921 to the Present (Fireside Books/Simon and Schuster Trade Paperback, 642 pages), was updated to include major and minor broadcast events from radio’s first game in 1921 on KDKA Pittsburgh to cable TV’s burgeoning universe. It details the sport’s complete broadcast history and the personae of its leading lights. Smith brings to life such titanic Voices as Barber, Mel Allen, Vin Scully, Dizzy Dean, Harry Caray, Ernie Harwell, Al Michaels, Bob Prince, and more than a 125 more.

Moreover, Voices of The Game weaves together the social, political, and cultural climate of the time, placing the subjects in historical context. For example, Smith shows how the Armed Forces Radio Network tied the World Series to World War II troops abroad; how Dean’s rustic bent on the 1953-65 Game of the Week stirred America’s heartland; and how the 1990s decision to kill Saturday’s Game still haunts the sport.

With vivid detail, Smith recreates the play-by-play announcing of baseball’s theatric moments, explores network and franchise politics, reveals stories behind major hirings and firings, and documents how the dramatic shift from network TV to local and cable prominence has maimed baseball’s national presence. “This book is a masterpiece,” the New York Post‘s Phil Mushnick said. No baseball library should be without the updated version of Voices of The Game.