Curt Smith is a newspaper columnist, award-winning radio commentator, Upstate New York political analyst, and acclaimed author, his seventeenth and newest book The Presidents and the Pastime: The History of Baseball and the White House. Smith also wrote more speeches than anyone else for George H. W. Bush during and after his 1989-93 Presidency. The New York Times terms Curt’s work “the high point of Bush familial eloquence.” Adds Chicago Cubs radio Voice Pat Hughes: “He is [also] simply one of the best baseball historians ever.”
Smith’s regular column for GateHouse Media is available to its newspapers around the country. He is also a columnist for Jewish World Review’s Political Mavens.com and Major League Baseball’s web site MLBblog.com. Smith has analyzed politics for numerous Upstate radio and television outlets; appears regularly on such syndicated shows as Beyond the Beltway; and is Senior Lecturer of English at the University of Rochester, teaching Public Speaking and Presidential Rhetoric from Franklin Roosevelt to Donald Trump. In addition, he advises its English Department’s intern program.
The State University of New York at Geneseo alumnus began his career as a Gannett reporter, speechwriter for former Texas Governor John B. Connally, The Saturday Evening Post senior editor, and then senior Cabinet speechwriter in the Reagan Administration. In 1989, he joined the Bush White House, writing the 41st President’s “Just War” Persian Gulf address, Nixon and Reagan Libraries dedication, Margaret Thatcher Medal of Freedom address, and speech aboard the USS Arizona memorial site on Pearl Harbor’s 50th anniversary. Smith also wrote Bush’s eulogy to Ronald Reagan at Washington’s National Cathedral.
Leaving the White House, Smith headed the former president’s 1993-97 speech staff. He keynoted a conference on Bush at his Library at Texas A&M University, the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, and Great Fenway Park Writers Series; addressed the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR); and hosted Smithsonian Institution, Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and XM Satellite Radio series. Smith co-wrote the highly-rated ESPN TV 1994-95 series, Voices of The Game, based upon his book, the title now often shorthand for baseball radio/television. He also helped research ABC/ESPN’s SportsCentury.
From 2003-12, Smith hosted the popular National Public Radio Rochester, NY affiliate Perspectives on outlet WXXI. Associated Press and the New York Broadcasting Association voted his commentary “the best in New York State.” Among programs he hosted on local or Statewide radio/TV were Perfectly Clear, Talking Point, The Curt Smith Show, and Voices of The Game, at one time or another interviewing David Birney, Lynne Cheney, Bob Costas, Garth Fagan, Mark Gearan, Larry Lucchino, David Maraniss, Jon Meacham, George Mitchell, Robert Merrill, Al Roker, Louis Rukeyser, and George Will.
Increasingly turning to writing books, Smith’s include 2018’s The Presidents and the Pastime; The History of Baseball and the White House; George H. W. Bush: Character at the Core; Mercy! A Celebration of Fenway Park’s Centennial Told Through Red Sox Radio and TV: A Talk in the Park: Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story; The Voice: Mel Allen’s Untold Story; Voices of Summer; What Baseball Means to Me; Storied Stadiums; Our House; Windows on the White House; Of Mikes and Men; The Red Sox Fan’s Little Book of Wisdom; The Storytellers; Long Time Gone; and America’s Dizzy Dean in addition to Voices of The Game.
Recent book essays include The Memoir as Art, Greatest Presidential Speeches, and 32 Greatest TV/Film Presidential Portraits, and for Cambridge University’s The Cambridge Companion to Baseball, the National Museum of American Jewish History’s Changing Dreams, and 14 books in SABR’s series on years/teams. Smith has also written, for among others, the Boston Globe, Newsweek, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and The Washington Post – and appeared on such networks as ABC Nightline, BBC, CBS This Morning, CNN, ESPN, Fox News, MSNBC, History Channel, Mutual Radio, and Radio America.
Smith has been named among the State University of New York’s “Outstanding Alumni” and to the select Judson Welliver Society of former White House speechwriters. He is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ford C. Frick committee, choosing a yearly broadcast inductee, and the National Radio Hall of Fame committee. Smith joined the University of Rochester faculty in 1999. He lives with his wife Sarah and their two children in Upstate New York.