Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

I’d Know That Voice Anywhere

My Favorite NPR Commentaries

by Frank Deford

From the celebrated writer Frank Deford, a collection of his best sports commentaries from more than thirty years of weekly appearances on NPR’s Morning Edition.

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 288
  • Publication Date May 03, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2524-8
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

Frank Deford is one of the most beloved sports commentators in America. A contributing writer to Sports Illustrated for more than fifty years, he is also a longtime correspondent on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

These days, Deford is perhaps best known for his weekly commentaries on NPR’s Morning Edition. Beginning in 1980, Deford has recorded over two thousand commentaries, and in this collection he brings together the very best, creating a charming, insightful, and wide-ranging look at athletes and the world of sports.

In I’d Know That Voice Anywhere, Deford discusses everything from sex scandals and steroids to Americans’ perennial nostalgia for Joe DiMaggio and why, in a culture dominated by celebrity, sports is the only discipline on earth where popularity and excellence thrive in tandem. He considers the similarities between Babe Ruth and Winnie the Pooh, why football reminds him of Venice, and how the Olympics are like Groundhog Day—or like an independent movie filled with foreign actors you’ve never heard of. He considers the prevalence of cheating in the classroom among student-athletes and why academic whistle-blowers are castigated as tattletales, pens a one-size-fits-all sports movie script, and even delivers Super Bowl coverage in the style of Shakespeare. A rollicking sampler of one of NPR’s most popular segments, I’d Know That Voice Anywhere is perfect for sports enthusiasts—as well as sports skeptics—and a must-read for any Frank Deford fan.


“[Deford is] sports writing’s Sinatra.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Frank Deford definitely is worthy of a spot on the Mt. Rushmore of sportswriters . . . As always, Deford’s writing is glorious, hitting all the notes from funny to emotional to profound . . . Once again, his words make sports come alive.” —Ed Sherman, Chicago Tribune

“Wonderful . . . Deford’s new book underscores his brilliance as a writer . . . Deford fans are well-advised to check [it] out.” —Ed Sherman, Poynter

“One of the all-time greats in sports journalism . . . Man, he’s good.” —Budd Bailey, Buffalo News (Best Sports Books for 2016)

“A sparkling sampler of commentaries from celebrated sports journalist Frank Deford . . . This prime selection of Deford’s most insightful NPR pieces offers a kaleidoscope of sports highs and lows . . . . I’d Know That Voice Anywhere is an eclectic joy to read, highly recommended.” —Midwest Book Review

“Deford . . . has a wickedly droll sense of humor, which, when coupled with his encyclopedic knowledge of sports, results in commentaries that are incisive, amusing, touching, or incendiary in various combinations . . . A rich collection for anyone interested in the sporting life.” —Booklist

“An eclectic collection . . . [Deford] could make a shopping list interesting to read.” —Budd Bailey, Buffalo New


Named a Best Sports Book of 2016 by Buffalo News


Please, let’s face it, where there are games, people will bet. It’s idiotic to run away from that fact. Indeed, in many countries, national lotteries are based on soccer results. In a grown-up place like England, you can walk into any neighborhood betting shop and get a wager down on just about any event, including even, say, the British Open and Wimbledon. And, you know, I haven’t heard a single suggestion that Phil Mickelson or Anna Kournikova hasn’t won the championships because gamblers have gotten to them.

But the American sports leagues love to maintain this fiction that gamblers are a threat to their games. By making a big fuss about this, the leagues can then shout about what a wonderful job they’re doing in saving their games from fixes. It’s like the guy sitting on the street corner waving his arms. “What are you doing?” “I’m keeping the elephants away.” “I don’t see any elephants.” “See, I’m keeping them away.”

The NFL, the NHL, the NBA, and baseball are doing a great job of keeping the elephants away. 

The players in our professional leagues simply make too much money, which is why what few attempted fixes there are invariably involve poor college kids with no pro future. Yet, the leagues have a whipping boy. It would be as if President Bush regularly talked about the threat to America of the Bolsheviks or the Barbary pirates.