It’s quite possible we’ve never had a guest on Cover to Cover quite as comfortable in the talk studio as this week’s guest, longtime Atlanta Braves broadcaster Pete Van Wieren. In 2008, Pete retired from a distinguished career of 33 years with Atlanta’s Major League Baseball club. His new memoir, Of Mikes and Men, is chock full of anecdotes about the club and insights into the mind of the team’s scholarly voice.
Obviously, the natural appeal here is to Braves’ fans, of which there should be no shortage. The team’s radio network is reportedly the largest radio network of any sports franchise in the United States, and Van Wieren and his longtime broadcast partner, Skip Carey, hold a special place in the hearts of many of those fans.
Van Wieren talks about Caray’s declining health and how it affected his work in his final broadcasts before he passed away suddenly in 2008. He also talks about his early days knocking around with a rock band at Cornell University, the lean years broadcasting minor league games, the elation when he got the call to Atlanta, the sudden death of baseball’s first African-American general manager, hustling out of downtown Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots, Ted Turner’s one-game stint in the dugout as manager, and much more.