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The Life of Legendary Sportscaster and UFCJC Alum Red Barber Chronicled in New Book

The life of sports broadcasting legend Walter Lanier “Red” Barber, B.S. Journalism 1934 and Hall of Fame 1970, is the subject of a new book, “Red Barber: The Life and Legacy of a Broadcasting Legend” by Judith Hiltner and James Walker. Barber got his start in the industry at commercial radio station WRUF-AM which is now part of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

Walter L. "Red" Barber
Red Barber

The book follows the trajectory of Barber’s long career from radio and television play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees to his work calling college and professional football games. He had a nine-year tenure as director of sports for CBS Radio, was an Episcopal lay reader, sportswriter, and weekly guest with Bob Edwards on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

According to the book review, “From his colorful expressions like ‘rhubarb’ and ‘sitting in the catbird seat’ to his vivid use of similes—a close game was ‘tighter than a new pair of shoes on a rainy day’—Barber’s influence on his contemporaries and the many generations of broadcasters who followed him cannot be overstated. But behind all the base hits, balls, and strikes lies a compelling story that dramatizes the shifting expectations and roles of a public figure—the sports broadcaster—as he adapted to complex cultural changes throughout the course of twentieth-century American life.”

Bob Edwards, former host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” writes, “At last a full biography of a legendary sports broadcasting pioneer. Red Barber balanced responsible reporting with charming entertainment. The authors explain how the Old Redhead retained his personal integrity in a field where baseball, broadcasting, and sponsors want total control.”

Posted: June 8, 2022
Category: Alumni News, College News
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