Walt Brown (Lincoln) grew up a fan of the semi-pro Lincoln Potters, listened to Sacramento Solons play-by-play man Tony Koester and called Tony Freitas his favorite player. As a high school senior in 1953, his goal was to become the voice of the Solons.
Brown, 79, spent 40 years as a broadcaster and play-by-play man for college and pro sports, including working with Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons doing Giants games on radio. Doing play-by-play for more than 20 sports, plus interviews, talk shows, radio newscasts and more, he often was a “a fly on the wall” the last 50 years.
He’s met some of the biggest names in sports, including Willie Mays, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, Dan Marino, Emmit Smith, Ernie Banks, Gary Player, Jerry Rice and Wilt Chamberlain.
From those experiences, the Roseville resident wrote “A Fly on the Wall,” self-published last year via AuthorHouse.
“The book is an account of sports and cultural history of little known, but true, biographical incidents and anecdotes from famous lives,” Brown said. “This is a history that began 50 years ago, which, in many ways, is being repeated in the world today, but with added bits in the book from famous lives of that day.”
The 204-page memoir recounts time observing and interacting with well-known athletes, movie stars, politicians and other celebrities of the last half of the 20th century.
“I want to show America their greatest heroes from the view of the fly on the wall, not the camera in their face,” Brown said.
Brown’s list of the five athletes who made the most memorable impression on him: Ali, Owens, Player, Rod Laver and Stan Musial.
Brown isn’t the only person from this area who has written a book about baseball.