|Book Review: Pull up a Chair - The Vin Scully Story|
Written by Richard Coreno (Contact & Archive) on May 31, 2009
Smith was also rebuffed by Scully, but pieced together this first -- and unauthorized -- biography, Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story (Potomac Books, 2009), on the iconic figure through an exhaustive exploration of past material from a number of major media sources, including quotes from Scully and interviews with Bob Costas, Jack Buck, Ernie Harwell and Red Barber.
From Scully's birth in the Bronx on November 29, 1927, to his work with the Brooklyn Dodgers beginning at age 22 and continuing after the club's controversial move to Los Angeles, along with taking the national stage for NBC-TV and CBS Radio, Smith captures the professional and personal qualities of a public figure who guards his private life once the game is over and the microphone is turned off for the day.
Along the base paths of 12 chapters that are split into segments of time from Scully's life, Smith delivers some neat web gems, including a brief history of the Brooklyn Dodgers, how Ebbets Field got its name and a brief -- but neat -- biography of Barber. The final chapter -- "Let Us Define Our Terms" -- is the definitive exploration into the stage craft of Scully. "What makes Scully, Scully?" writes Smith, before delving into the key personal and professional attributes of the legend.
"The Transistor Kid" has a clear-channel through Smith -- a former speechwriter for President George H.W. Bush -- and the author of Voices of the Game, The Voice: Mel Allen's Untold Story and Voices of Summer: Ranking Baseball's 101 All-Time Best Announcers. And the legend truly comes to life from the location where Scully's multitude of fans have gotten to know him over the many years...the perch above the field of play on a warm summer day, with not one cloud in the sky.
"Pick a student aspiring to radio/TV. Whom should he emulate? Almost every Voice has, if not a vice, some chink," writes Smith. "In decline, Mel Allen talked too much. Bob Prince would wander; Ned Martin, misstate; Curt Gowdy, bore. Jack Buck could be flip. Harry Caray morphed into caricature. A tyro should avoid each flaw. Vin had none."
AHP Rating: 3.5 Balls
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Four Balls: An exceptional book that truly earns a walk straight to the local book store to get a copy.