In the world of sports broadcasting, few people have had the variety of experiences that legendary sports broadcaster Eli Gold has had in his long, storied career.
Along with M. B. Roberts, Eli Gold has written an autobiography of his life as a broadcaster that is one of the most interesting reads that I have seen in quite a while. Each chapter is chocked full of antidotal stories from each phase of his forty year career.
Eli knew as a child what he wanted to do and never wavered off the path. The title, “Peanuts to the Pressbox” is descriptive of a career that has taken him from being a peanut seller in Madison Square Gardens to becoming one of the best in the broadcasting field today.
Currently, Eli Gold has been the “Voice of the Alabama Crimson Tide” since 1988, the host of the weekly NASCAR Live radio show since 1982, and does weekly NFL games on radio for Sports USA.
Eli’s play-by-play career started with the Long Island Ducks hockey team and after moving up thought the minor leagues has been with the Birmingham Bulls WHA team, the St. Louis Blues and the Nashville Predators.
Other stops in his career included baseball with the Birmingham Barons and Arena Football for NBC. In his book, Eli spins incredible tales from each stop along the way in his career.
The book has a real charm to it that comes from a mixture of his New York City upbringing as well as his thirty-two years of being a transplant to the heart of Dixie in Birmingham, Alabama.
I could really relate to the book as Eli and I are about the same age. He starts with stories of sneaking a transistor radio into school to listen to the World Series game that were played in the daytime in earlier days.
During a recent appearance on PredsOnTheGlass Radio, Eli said, “I always had to remember when writing the book that I had to make reference to what exactly I’m talking about because things are different now.”
During his High School days, Eli rarely attended class as he was either working for one of the New York radio stations or attending one of the many sporting events in the local area. He received his high school diploma through the efforts of his mother convincing the principal that he was a good boy and that he had been working instead of attending class.
On our radio show, Eli gave advice to anyone wanting to pursue a career in broadcasting, “There is not a single text book in the world that can teach you how to broadcast a hockey game, a football game, or anything like that. You have to take chances do what you need to do and roll the dice.”
Continuing, Eli said, “If you have a dream, you need to pursue it. There’s really no classroom of textbook that can teach you how to be a play-by-play guy. You just have to get out there and do it.”
Further he said, “You have to take chances and chase the dream. You don’t want to be in your fifties and sixties and say to yourself, I wish I had done that. You just need to do it and take opportunities when you can.”
In the book Eli talks about how he got his first job with NASCAR. He was asked if he knew anything about auto racing. He said that he did.
I asked Eli to elaborate on that story and he said “I lying through my teeth when I said that. I actually sent them a hockey tape as an audition for the job. I figured that they would think that if the kid could keep up with the speed of hockey, he could keep up with the pace of auto racing as well. That’s how I got my job with NASCAR in 1976.”
When questioned about the greatest event that he had covered, Eli said, “It would have to be calling the National Championship game for Alabama when they won the National Title for football in 1992.”
Many Predator fans remember Eli from his radio broadcast with Nashville during the 2007-2008 season. Eli said that he really enjoyed his stint in with the Preds and said, “I’m not bashful in saying that I miss doing those games, terribly. I love the NHL and I’m sorry that I couldn’t continue but they needed someone full time and I couldn’t do that.”
This is Eli Gold’s third book but was supposed to be his first book. He previously published “Crimson Nation” and “Bears Boys: 36 Men Whose Lives Were Changed by Coach Paul Bryant” and “Crimson Nation”. Eli said, “I started out to do this book and only this book but my publisher had other ideas, thus the other two came first.”
In summary, Eli says that his life has been “a very interesting road” and that he has gotten where he is today by “taking chances”. One thing always lead to another.
In 1977, when he told family and friends that he was moving to Birmingham, Alabama they were all shocked. But Eli knew that there were opportunities and it worked out perfectly and the book provides testimony to that.
The book was released this week by Thomas Nelson Publishers and is available at bookstores nationwide as well as at all Internet booksellers.