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Memories from the Microphone: A Century of Baseball Broadcasting

Memories from the Microphone: A Century of Baseball Broadcasting

by Curt Smith, ,

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Voices of the Game

Curt Smith is “…the voice of authority on baseball broadcasting.” —USA Today

#1 New Release in Photography, Baseball Statistics, Photo Essays, and Photojournalism

In this second in a series of Baseball Hall of Fame books, celebrate the larger-than-life role played by radio and TV baseball announcers in enhancing the pleasure of our national pastime.

Commemorate the 100th anniversary of baseball broadcasting. The first baseball game ever broadcast on radio was on August 5, 1921 by Harold Wampler Arlin, a part-time baseball announcer on Pittsburgh’s KDKA, America’s first commercially licensed radio station. The Pirates defeated the Phillies 8-5.

An insider’s view of baseball. Now you can own Memories from the Microphone and experience baseball from author Curt Smith. He has spent much of his life covering baseball radio and TV, and previously authored baseball books including the classic Voices of The Game.

Relive baseball’s storied past through the eyes of famed baseball announcers. Organized chronologically, Memories from the Microphone charts the history of baseball broadcasting. Enjoy celebrated stories and personalities that have shaped the game—from Mel Allen to Harry Caray, Vin Scully to Joe Morgan, Ernie Harwell to Red Barber.

Also discover:

  • Images from the Baseball Hall of Fame’s matchless archive
  • Anecdotes and quotes from Curt Smith’s original research
  • Interviews with broadcast greats
  • Little-known stories, such as Ronald Reagan calling games for WHO Des Moines in the 1930s
  • Accounts of diversity in baseball broadcasting, including the TV coverage of Joe Morgan and earlier Hispanic pioneers Buck Canel and Rafael (Felo) Ramirez
  • A special section devoted to the Ford C. Frick Award and inductees since its inception in 1978


Also take a nostalgic trip down baseball's memory lane with other Baseball Hall of Fame books:  Picturing America’s Pastime, So You Think You Know Baseball, and Baseball Memories and Dreams.

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  • Curt Smith

    Curt Smith’s seventeenth and newest book is June 1, 2018’s The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White House—the ideal author to be the first to exhaustively explore the tie between the two great American institutions of the Presidency and baseball.

    To USA Today, Smith is the “voice of authority on baseball broadcasting”—and to Chicago Cubs announcer Pat Hughes, “simply one of the best baseball historians, ever.” His baseball books include Voices of The Game, what Publisher’s Weekly called the “monumental” history of baseball broadcasting. It was adapted into a smash series at the Smithsonian Institution and an acclaimed three-part series on ESPN TV.

    He also wrote more speeches than anyone for George H. W. Bush during and after his 1989-93 Presidency. They include among the 41st President’s best-known speeches—his “Just War” address; speech on the USS Arizona Memorial site on Pearl Harbor’s fiftieth anniversary that John McCain termed “moving … thick with emotion”; and Bush’s 2004 eulogy to Ronald Reagan. The New York Times terms Smith’s work “the high point of Bush familial eloquence.”

    Today Smith is a Senior Lecturer of English at the University of Rochester, where he teaches Public Speaking and Presidential Rhetoric. He is a Gatehouse Media columnist, Associated Press award-winning radio commentator, and has analyzed baseball and politics for numerous national and regional media outlets. NBC broadcaster Bob Costas says, “Curt Smith stands up for the beauty of words.”

    Before the White House, Smith was a Gannett reporter, The Saturday Evening Post senior editor, and Cabinet speechwriter in the Reagan Presidency. Since leaving it, he has keynoted the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture and the Great Fenway Writers Series, addressed the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) Convention—and hosted Smithsonian Institution, Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, XM Satellite Radio, and National Public Radio affiliate series.

    Among Smith’s books is Mercy!, a tribute to Fenway Park, lauded by each 1988 major-party presidential foe. Bush wrote, “Marvelous.” Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis dubbed it “extraordinary.” Other books include Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story; Of Mikes and Men; Voices of Summer; What Baseball Means to Me; and biographies of Dizzy Dean and Mel Allen. Smith also contributed to Cambridge [University’s] Companion to Baseball, the National Museum of American Jewish History’s Chasing Dreams, and over a dozen volumes of SABR’s series on years/teams.

    Smith has written for, among others, The Boston Globe, Newsweek, The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, Sports Illustrated, and The Washington Post. He has appeared on many radio/TV outlets including ABC’s Nightline, BBC, CBS This Morning, CNBC, CNN, ESPN, Fox News Channel, MLB, MSNBC, Mutual, Sirius, and The History Channel.

    Raised in New York State, the 1973 State University of New York at Geneseo graduate was named among the “Outstanding Alumni” of New York’s SUNY system and to the select Judson Welliver Society of former Presidential speechwriters. He is a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame committee and the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award broadcast committee. Smith lives with wife Sarah and two children in Upstate New York.