SAN DIEGO – His voice has serenaded San Diego County for more than 40 years, painting pictures of some of the most iconic sports moments in the community’s history.
Now, longtime broadcaster Ted Leitner is talking in a new way in the pages of his recently released memoir.
“As a kid in the oldest Yankee Stadium, I would walk as a vendor and look to my left and see the Yankees of my youth: Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra,” Leitner told FOX 5, “and then to my right, I’d see Mel Allen, Jerry Coleman and I’d think, ‘Wow, would I love to be a broadcaster.”
From his first job selling food in Yankee Stadium to his decades as the play-by-play voice of the Padres — as well as the former San Diego Chargers and SDSU football and basketball — Leitner has plenty of stories to share in “Ted Talks: Uncle Teddy’s Fond Memories, Crazy Stories and Heartfelt Reflections.” In the book, authored by John Freeman and featuring an introduction by NBA legend Bill Walton, Leitner recalls the highs and lows of a life in sports few could imagine.
And it’s safe to say one of his toughest jobs in baseball came early.
“Toughest job you might ever have, you might make $4-6 a day but I didn’t care,” he said. “I was in Yankee Stadium watching Major League Baseball with some of the great teams of all time.”
Over the years, Leitner has connected fans with some of the most influential athletes and moments the community has ever seen. But never in those four decades did he pull back the curtain so far to reveal personal anecdotes of his life leading up to and during his broadcasting career.
He also shares with readers stories of a difficult childhood, one with an abusive father who shaped the early part of his life.
“I had no self-esteem — none — no self-image,” he said. “When I had to give an oral report in grade school, I would cut school and face his wrath when he came home and found out. To not get up in front of people and talk.
“And then I’d stand up at home plate in Petco Park in front of 40,000 as the master of ceremonies and I’d go, ‘What in the world?’”
His book is available for sale on Amazon.
For more on Ted Leitner, click on the video above.