It’s an ideal present for the Howard Stern fan in your life. Bubba the Love Sponge enthusiasts should enjoy this literary endeavor as well. “They Call Me Baba Booey” by “Howard Stern Show” executive producer Gary Dell’Abate (with Chad Millman) tells the story of how the early life of the man best known as Baba Booey prepared him for the daily insanity of overseeing the planet’s most popular (and notorious) radio program. Dell’Abate devotes an entire chapter to how he went from Boy Gary to Baba Booey in 1990. It’s an interesting anecdote, and reveals much about his strange, devoted and often rocky relationship with Stern. “At the beginning I was irritated,” Dell’Abate said when he called from his Connecticut home.
“I’m not going to say I liked the name fairly early on.” But he grew to love the sobriquet as it became a “Stern Show” catch phrase — especially among prank callers — and Dell’Abate’s personal appearance fees soared. The name became a pop culture sensation during the 1994 O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco chase when a caller reached ABC News’ Peter Jennings and shouted “And Baba Booey to y’all!” Stern fan Al Michaels had to explain to Jennings he had just been had. “I wasn’t watching and this was pre-Internet so I had no clue,” Dell’Abate said. ‘‘I was at a wedding the next day and people were like, ‘You were on TV!’ “
Another chapter of the book covers “The Pitch.” At a game last May, super Mets fan Dell’Abate stood on the mound and threw the ceremonial first toss. His horrendous lob missed the catcher by about five feet and nearly hit an umpire standing up the third base line. Stern had a field-day mocking his coworker on air, as did numerous other media outlets. Clips of the incident posted on YouTube have racked up more a 1,000,000 views. Dell’Abate has no plans to redeem himself anytime soon.
“Not unless I was positive I could,” he said. “I’ve been offered, but it’s not worth it yet. I’ve got to get my head back in a place where I’m not thinking about it.