Felber: The baseball book that changed my life

From SABR member Bill Felber at The National Pastime Museum on October 7, 2015:

To the extent Baseball Is a Funny Game is recalled today, it is largely for its yarns. This is due in part to the content and in part to the subsequent reputation of the author. When the book hit stores in May of 1960, Joe Garagiola was a little-known retired catcher who had taken up color commentary in St. Louis. His anonymity, however, was about to change.

Baseball Is a Funny Game spent much of that summer on the New York Times best-seller list—something unheard-of for a baseball book at the time—earning its author guest stints on the Today Show with Dave Garroway and the Tonight Show with Jack Paar. Both turned out to be perfect vehicles to display Garagiola’s self-deprecating wit and storytelling charm before a national audience. Within a few months, he was doing color—and eventually play-by-play—on NBC’s national “Game of the Week” telecasts.

That national exposure allowed Garagiola to do something rare among sports figures at the time: cross over into the realm of general entertainment. He began showing up regularly on the Today Show in the mid-1960s, and he occasionally guest hosted the Tonight Show for Johnny Carson. From the late 1960s into the 1980s, he was a daytime quiz show fixture, most often on To Tell the Truth or The Match Game.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/baseball-funny-game-joe-garagiola

Originally published: October 7, 2015. Last Updated: October 7, 2015.