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In ‘Lucky Bastard,’ St. Louis sportscaster Joe Buck comes to terms with growing up with dad, Jack

St. Louis sportscaster recently released a memoir recounting the first 47 years of his life.

Joe Buck doesn’t like NPR. You might not be able to tell this fact from the number of interviews he’s had on the network about his first memoir “Lucky Bastard,” but there it is. St. Louisan and national sportscaster Joe Buck has distaste for public radio. Just not for the reason you think.

“I was getting operated on for hair procedure three, four, five or six and under local anesthetic,” Buck told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “I’m wincing in pain with every slice in the hair transplant surgery and all I can hear from at least the outside is NPR. I think NPR is fantastic, but when I hear it now, I associate it with the pain I was going through in these hair transplants.”

OK, we guess we can forgive that.

“Thank God it wasn’t an NFL game that was on in the background, or it would have ended my career,” Buck said.

That acerbic wit is the same Buck uses to approach the rest of his life in “Lucky Bastard,” which covers his life, his dad (famed sportscaster Jack Buck) and the things he’s not allowed to say on T.V. … like discussing his obsession with hair transplant procedures that would eventually paralyze his left vocal cord leaving him voiceless for his announcing gigs.

Buck initially lied about what caused his vocal cord paralysis but said that almost losing his job because of it in addition to losing his father and going through a divorce made him want to open up and be brutally honest.

“People have an opinion about me and it is often wrong,” Buck said. “It was like: let’s kill a bunch of birds with one stone.”

Buck’s referring to the oft-repeated thought that he only has his job as a sportscaster because of the love people had for his father. He calls the memoir a “cathartic experience.” There’s also a whole new generation of people who grew up listening to him who never listened to his father.

“I think this is a study of a 47-year-old-life that I think people can apply the lessons to their own life,” Buck said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re broadcasting baseball or a welder.”

That being said, one of the essential conflicts of the book is how Buck deals with being the son of a famous person.

He freely admits that he would not be broadcasting Major League Baseball at the age of 21 if his dad’s influence wasn’t as heavy as it was.

"People have an opinion about me and it is often wrong."

“I do recognize that I do a good job. I work really hard. For as much as I got from my dad, I got just as much from my mom, a Broadway actress, singer and dancer,” Buck said. “My dad gets a lot of the credit for what I was doing at a young age. You get that opportunity and that advantage, but it is also what you do with it. I’ve worked so hard, so if it Fox, the Cardinals or DirecTV, they get my best effort. It probably makes me work harder than most guys to do what I do. I constantly have to prove my worth and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

In addition to stories about his dad and his career, the reader can also expect some insights into how he thinks the game of baseball and the broadcasting of the sport could improve.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.