Preferred Lies and Other Tales: Skimming the Cream of a Life in Sports

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Simon & Schuster, 1998 - Sports & Recreation - 272 pages
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"No sportscaster has ever used the English language better than Jack Whitaker." -- Chris Berman For nearly fifty years, Jack Whitaker has brought style, grace, and wit to the American sporting scene through his reporting, his commentaries, and his essays. He's a living testament to the days when sports and television were glamorous, not routine; when world travel was adventure, not just transportation; when deluxe hotels and good scotch were as much a part of a TV journalist's arsenal as a blow-dryer and a perma-tan. There isn't a major sporting event in the world that he hasn't seen firsthand and helped put before the American people: Major League Baseball, the first Super Bowl, all of golf's majors, the Kentucky Derby, tennis's U.S. Open, the Olympics, the Indianapolis 500, Ali-Norton at Yankee Stadium... It's been a helluva life and a helluva ride -- one as exhilarating as the Cresta itself, that run down the St. Moritz bobsled course where Whitaker joined Errol Flynn, Paul Gallico, and the Duke of Westphalia in having taken the ultimate sleigh ride and living to tell about it. In Preferred Lies and Other Tales, he shares his experiences and his thoughts in his trademark elegant, entertaining, and graceful style. The places he's been and the events he's been a part of! Whitaker was on hand for much of the rise of pro football to its preeminent position in the 1960s, calling the first Super Bowl before it bore that hype-filled moniker; he was standing behind the 18th green at Pebble Beach with Jack Nicklaus when Tom Watson chipped in on 17 to steal the U.S. Open; he rode in the pace car at the Indy 500 the year a starting-line crash wiped out a third of the field; he covered Secretariat's Belmont, when the big red stallion smashed all records with a 32-length victory, providing compensation to Whitaker for the embarrassing Kentucky Derby three years earlier when he arrived in the winner's circle to discover that none of the people involved with upset winner Canonero II spoke a word of English; and in the 1960s and '70s he was a part of the scene at P J. Clarke's, the legendary New York watering hole where Reggie Jackson celebrated his three-homer World Series game by drinking with Governor Hugh Carey, and a maître d' might greet the arrival of a Supreme Court justice seeking a table by calling out, "It'll be ten minutes, Arthur." From the paddock to Pebble Beach, from the backstretch at Churchill Downs to the fairways of St. Andrews, with stops all around the world -- Paris, Le Mans, Havana, Australia, Cold War-era Moscow, and the splendor of Augusta National -- Whitaker has had the opportunity, in the unforgettable words of Henry Longhurst, to "skim the cream" of the sports world's bounty. Like the best of Red Smith, Preferred Lies and Other Tales is a delightful reflection on the stories, events, and people that made us all fall in love with sports in the first place.

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Preferred lies and other tales: skimming the cream of a life in sports

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Whitaker has been a sports broadcaster (with both CBS and ABC) for almost 50 years. He has long been known as a pleasant, wry, and literate television personality, qualities that carry over to his ... Read full review


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About the author (1998)

Whitaker was a part of the explosive growth of sports television, first on the local level in Philadelphia, next with CBS Sports in the 1960s-70s, and then with ABC Sports in the 70s and 80s. Lives in Bridgehampton, NY and Palm Springs, CA.

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