At "Only A Game," we're in favor of most books that are accompanied by compact discs. We are, after all, a radio program. That explains in part our enthusiasm for "The Golden Voices of
Baseball," which features some of the calls and lots of the story-telling of play-by-play guys such as Red Barber, Mel Allen, Russ Hodges and various other worthies.
Nobody perceptive and thoughtful enough to understand that baseball on the radio always has been and always will be better than baseball on television will have to be told how much fun this collection is. The Golden Voices of Baseball is a tip of the audio hat to an era when good story tellers had time to tell good stories...a time before every potentially empty moment during a ballgame was crammed with drop-ins for insurance, newspapers, TV specials, automobiles, airlines, the state lottery, beer, soft drinks, and fruit juice.
Anybody who remembers the days before three televisions in every home and in lots of cars, ESPN, and highlight film...the days when the only way to follow a ballgame besides being there was to listen to it on the radio, has a favorite play-by-play guy. I have two: Ned Martin and Jim Woods. When I moved to Boston, they were announcing Red Sox games. I'd previously heard Mr. Woods when he worked for the Giants in New York. When I listened to the Red Sox, I felt like I was rejoining an old friend. When the paper for which I was writing occasional pieces in those days agreed that an interview with Mr. Woods would be a good idea, I felt as if I'd landed the world's best assignment. We talked for about an hour in the old press room at Fenway Park. There is a danger to encountering in person somebody you've admired from a distance, but this time it worked out. Jim Woods was delightful, candid, and funny. The conversation was certainly as much fun as being at a ballgame. (In fact, that day it was more fun, since the ballgame that was to follow our conversation was rained out.)
If you don't hear your favorite play-by-play guy on "The Golden Voices of Baseball," write Ted Patterson, the guy who collected the tape. Maybe Sports Publishing will let him collect some more.
This program aired on January 18, 2003. The audio for this program is not available.