Radio Broadcast – 4/22/50, Dodgers vs Giants, Ebbets Field

Here’s my third YouTube upload of a classic radio broadcast – April 1950, Dodgers vs Giants, Ebbets Field, Red Barber, can’t get any better than that.

From the YT page details:

Red Barber in his Dodgers prime! Original full radio broadcast, and the first Dodgers game carried on a national radio network, Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, Saturday, April 22, 1950, against their arch-rivals, the New York Giants, and the first weekend of the young season. Dodgers went in 3-1, the Giants 0-4. Both would turn out to have fine seasons, but fall short of the Whiz Kid Phillies for the ’50 pennant. The Ol’ Redhead himself calls the first 3 and last 3 innings, and Connie Desmond the middle 3. Gil Hodges hit a solo HR in the 2nd, Giants P Jack Kramer a 2-run shot in the 4th, and Hank Thompson a solo shot in the 7th. And there’s endless ad reads for the brand new Post Sugar Crisp cereal! Ebbets announcer Tex Rickards can be heard at the beginning and end of the game (each batter had yet to be announced in ballparks), and Gladys Gooding on the Ebbets Field organ. So as Red says, “join us now for another Brooklyn ball game” – a classic time capsule of a Dodgers/Giants showdown in Flatbush, enjoy!

Line score:

NY    2 0 0 – 3 0 0 – 1 0 0 – 6 8 2
BRO 0 1 0 – 0 4 1 – 0 1 x – 7 7 0

Retrosheet Box Score and Play-by-Play: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1950/B04220BRO1950.htm

Radio Broadcast – 9/20/34, Yankees vs Tigers, Navin Field

As part of my ongoing efforts to bring classic baseball moments to the masses, lol, I have been creating videos of classic radio broadcasts and uploading them to YouTube, with this one the granddaddy of them all. I will continue to post more as time permits, so watch this space!

From the YT page details:

The oldest (virtually) complete radio broadcast of a regular season baseball game known to exist. September 20, 1934, Yankess vs Tigers at Navin Field (Briggs/Tiger Stadium) in Detroit, Ty Tyson the announcer. Great old time radio. Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Frank Crosetti in the lineup for the Bombers, and Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, Mickey Cochrane for the Bengals. Babe Ruth was in the ballpark, but unfortunately did not play due to injury. This was during the Tigers’ ’30’s heyday, on their way to the AL pennant.

Tyson includes many colorful ad spots along the way, a teletype machine can be heard through much of the broadcast, and Tyson even doubles as the PA announcer, but only for pitching changes and pinch hitters, which was likely the norm in those days. Just hearing the game as it slowly unfolded almost 80 years ago is a treasure (by the way, the YouTube thumbnail below is of course taken at Yankee Stadium, but was a cool shot of four of the biggest stars at this game, so I incorporated it into the video for fun). Enjoy.

(caution: clicking any time links below will jump you directly to the YT page)

7:57 – Comments on the Babe taking BP and sitting out
10:29 – Gehrig’s 1st AB (popout) – Lazzeri bats after Gehrig all game
18:30 – Gehringer 1st AB (flyout)
19:27 – Greenberg 1st AB (K) (bats after Gehringer all game)
36:06 – Gehrig’s 2nd AB (bases-loaded 2-run single, knocks Marberry out of the box – then Tyson uses the PA to announce the relief pitcher Hamlin into the game)
51:00 – Greenberg’s 2nd AB (groundout)
1:01:27 – Gehrig’s 3rd and final at bat (groundout)
1:11:50 – Greenberg’s 3rd AB (single)
1:44:09 – Greenberg’s 4th and final at bat (fielder’s choice, wild play, NYY CF Chapman thrown out of game, Tyson over PA announces his replacement)

Final score, Yankees 11, Tigers 7

NYY 2 0 6 0 0 0 1 2 0 – 11 17 4
DET 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 0 1 – 7 14 4

Retrosheet Box Score and Play-By-Play:http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1934/B09200DET1934.htm

Radio Broadcast – 6/4/57, Dodgers vs Cubs, Ebbets Field

As part of my ongoing efforts to bring classic baseball moments to the masses, lol, I have been creating videos of classic radio broadcasts and uploading them to YouTube. Time-consuming, so there will only be a few here and there, but hope to get a bunch up soon enough.

From the YT page details:

Original full radio broadcast from the Dodgers radio network, originally preserved by WOKO, Albany, NY. Tuesday night, June 4, 1957, the Dodgers return from a 9 game PA trip to come home to face the Cubs, with a young Sandy Koufax taking the mound. After the intro by Jerry Doggett, an also young Vin Scully (starts at 6:43) calls the first 3 innings, with some middle-innings work later; Doggett does the last 6 innings, along with some between-innings work also. Al Helfert also contributes between innings, and does the quick post-game at the end. Dodgers prevailed, 7-5, as Sandy got the win and Clem Labine got the save. Campanella hits a 2-run double off the scoreboard in the first, and also there were 4 home runs: Snider in the 3rd, Hodges in the 5th, Speake of the Cubs in the 6th and Ernie Banks in the 8th. Also, Joe Pignatano makes his major league debut (discussion starting at 1:07:14) after Campy is hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning. The sounds of the fans, vendors and Ebbets announcer Tex Rickards (first heard at 4:10) are heard throughout the game. A classic time capsule of the Dodgers’ last season in Brooklyn, enjoy!

Line score:

CHC 0 0 0 – 0 0 2 – 0 3 0 – 5 6 1
BRO 3 0 3 – 0 1 0 – 0 0 x – 7 7 0

Retrosheet Box Score and Play-by-Play: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1957/B06040BRO1957.htm

 

You Gotta Believe (in YouTube)!!

Although my first Mets’ game was in 1971 (Mets won 2-0 over the Phillies), and I saw another game at Shea in 1972, I really didn’t become a die hard Amazins’ fan until the 1973 World Series. I remember seeing them on our small TV and thinking that this would be a great team to root for, being in the Fall Classic every year! I also remember being so bitterly disappointed when they lost the 7th game, and especially hated Wayne Garrett, who unforgivingly made the last out (I was just a kid).

Anyway, for some reason, video of the TV broadcast of this series is among the scarcest in the game, whether the master tapes were lost or damaged, or some other mysterious calamity befell the reels; and except for produced highlight films of the series, have not seen any of the original games as they were broadcast in over 40 years. Until now.

Someone wisely made tapes of Game 3 all those years ago, and has recently uploaded them to YT. First game at Shea, on NBC, with Curt Gowdy, Lindsey Nelson and Tony Kubek. Seaver vs Hunter. Four videos in all, of four different half-innings – the entire 1st, top of the 5th, and some of the top of the 9th. No other videos from the source yet, but more to come, see below.

Retrosheet box score: http://tinyurl.com/8ujxlkn

Top of the first. Gowdy PBP. A’s are scoreless, including striking out Reggie Jackson, and a great placard from the Mets’ old sign man, Karl Ehrhardt.

Bottom of the first, Gowdy PBP, Mets go up early 2-0, including a leadoff HR by Wayne Garrett.
Unfortunately, that was the extent of the Mets scoring for the evening.

Top of the 5th. Gowdy PBP. Tom strikes out the side! In case anyone wonders what all the fuss was about regarding Tom Terrific, watch this.

And THIS is what You Gotta Believe! was all about. Top of the 9th, special bonus with Lindsey doing PBP. Tug (You Gotta Believe!) comes in for Sadecki with 2 on and nobody out in a 2-2 game, and shuts the door, for now (and check out what appears to be a “75” type patch on Yogi and Rube’s jackets in the dugout). Complete with great fan shots and Tug pounding his glove and going manic in the dugout. Wow, memories. This was the 1973 magic I remember well.

Mets lost on an unearned run in the 11th inning off Parker (walk, rare passed ball by Grote, Campaneris single). Too bad, a win here would’ve gone a long way towards a ’73 title, since most of us know they won the next two at Shea to take a 3-2 series lead to Oakland, but lost both out west to lose the series in 7 games. This series came to be known by Mets fans as the “Near Miracle”, and has largely faded into the background of Mets’ lore. But, for me, this is the World Series of my youth.

The original uploader says in YT comments that he has almost this entire game, until it cut off in the 10th inning, and also will be posting video from the 1973 NLCS! Can’t wait. So watch this space!

Big Train, In Vain

One of the interesting discoveries in delving into the smaller details of the classic baseball era, is how many times personalities seem to intersect with one another, even indirectly, sort of filling in the gaps in the unique tapestry of the sport. A player goes down, allowing another to rise, or an owner or sponsor otherwise upsets the best laid plans by putting their foot down or pushing through a pet project of theirs, and changing history in the process.

One such instance that few people know about occurred in 1939. Fresh off doing football games while attending Alabama in the ’30’s, a young man by the name of Melvin Israel auditioned for CBS while on vacation in New York in 1937, and was hired to do a variety of work with the station, eventually doing color commentary for the 1938 World Series (although not exclusive to a single network in those days, a plum job nonetheless).

Mel broadcasting for CBS in 1938

Meanwhile, Wheaties, who sponsored the Washington Senators’ broadcasts, were in the market for a new announcer, as Arch McDonald was in the process of moving to New York to call both Yankees’ and Giants’ home games for the 1939 campaign, and they were confident that this young Crimson Tide up-and-comer would be a perfect fit for them. Unfortunately, Senators’ owner Clark Griffith had other ideas – with the Senators being largely “first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League” for many years, Griffith thought he had a plan to stir fans’ interests.

Walter Johnson with Calvin Coolidge at Griffith Stadium in 1925

Walter Johnson, “The Big Train”, was the best pitcher in the franchise’s existence, and had been out of baseball since managing the Cleveland Indians in 1935. In addition, although part of the initial 1936 class, he was slated to be officially inducted into the newly dedicated Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown that summer, so why not? Surely he would be a more popular choice than some young guy virtually no one knew about.

Original HOF induction of the first 4 classes, 1939 (Johnson top right)

And it did work for a while. Johnson again became the most popular Senator, with fans at Griffith Stadium marveling at hearing their old hero’s voice through the PA system (he was also the park’s announcer), and both home and away ballparks clamoring for his autograph over any other.

Johnson behind the mike for WJSV in 1939

Arch McDonald with Johnson, before McDonald’s full-time move to New York

Unfortunately, while Johnson was a natural on the mound, he was much less so behind the microphone. His delivery was slow, stilted and largely indifferent, especially over the course of another long season in the second division. Also, he was not possessed with what one would call a classic broadcaster’s voice – high, thin, nasal and ordinary, it belied his stature as one of the game’s giant figures. What is possibly the only radio broadcast of Johnson’s work to exist, is linked below – starting at 1:45 until after the 44 minute mark, than again for the last 12 minutes or so. A fascinating document, including sounds from the fans, vendors, etc., but it sounds like Walter would rather be anywhere else than at the park that day.

September 21, 1939, Senators vs Indians at Griffith Stadium

After the 1939 season was over, Johnson was ready for greener pastures, although his lack of oratory skill would follow – in an unsuccessful run for Congress in the 1940’s, he was known for  his lack of experience as a public speaker, and would often read the wrong speeches to the wrong constituents, etc. Sadly, 1939 was his last direct involvement with baseball – he died in 1946 of a brain tumor at age 59.

And what became of young Melvin? Well he of course was the legendary broadcaster Mel Allen, who ended up being paired with Arch McDonald in New York in June of 1939 after McDonald’s partner, Garnett Marks, was fired after mispronouncing on multiple occasions a key sponsor over the air, extolling the virtues of “Ovary Soap” to millions of New York baseball fans. And what of McDonald? Well, his broadcasting style was considered too homespun for the New York listeners (Allen’s Alabama twang would not fully emerge for a few years, when I suppose New York, having gotten used to Red Barber, was just fine with it), and he returned to Washington in 1940 (remaining there well into the ’50’s), as Mr. Allen moved into the Yankees’ play-by-play seat, stayed there for almost 25 years, and became a legend in the process.

So, if not for the insistence of one Clark Griffith to hire his old buddy Walter way back when, Mel Allen may very well have become the “Voice of the Washington Senators”! How about that!