It was seventy years ago today that Major League Baseball made it's television debut. On August 26, 1939, NBC television aired the first game on W2XBS, an experimental network broadcasting out of New York. The game took place at Ebbets Field between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds. It was a doubleheader, but only the first game, which the Reds won 5 - 2, was televised.
The announcer for the game was Red Barber. Barber was the play by play man for the Dodgers at the time. He worked the game alone and handled all of the ads by holding up the products, discussing their virtues, putting them down and going back to play by play. There were two cameras used for the game, one on the ground and one in the upper deck.
Since were only approximately 500 television sets in use at the time and because the signal only reached within a 50 mile radius, very few people actually saw the first braoadcast.
Red Barber continued on as the Dodgers broadcaster until 1953. He moved to the Yankees and retired from broadcasting baseball in 1966. NBC continued to air Major League Baseball games periodically from the 1940's through 2000.
Red Barber interviewing Leo Durocher after the game
Why, during Saturday's Fox Baseball Game of The Week, did we have to cut to the Padres - Dodgers game every time Manny Ramirez came to the plate? Why is Fox giving so much attention to the return of someone who was suspended for violating the league's drug policy?
It wasn't just Fox, it was the fans too. It was shocking to see the welcome back signs and to see so many cheering his return. Are we so desperate for heroes that we are ignoring the fact that he may be a cheater? For the most part we booed, and continue to boo, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. Is it different for Manny for some reason?
Again, wasn't he suspended for potentially cheating? Are we mistaken? Was he secretly working with disadvantaged kids or on a cure for cancer?
Please let us know if you know someting that we don't know.
On June 30, 1962 at Dodger Stadium, Sandy Koufax pitched his first no hitter. Playing against the newly formed New York Mets, the 26 year old lefty struck out thirteen and walked five en route to the 5 - 0 victory for the Dodgers. In an amazing first inning, Koufax threw only nine pitches, all for strikes. The Mets really only had two major threats in the game and both came from Richie Ashburn. In the sixth inning left fielder Tommy Davis lost Ashburn's line drive in the lights, but recovered just in time to make the catch. Coming up again in the 9th, Ashburn hit a rocket down the left field line and the ball landed just foul. Koufax retired the next two batters to end the game. He would go on to pitch three more no hitters in his career, one of them being a perfect game on September 9, 1965.
Check out the link below to hear Vin Scully, legendary voice of the Dodgers, call the 9th inning.
On May 28, 1957 National League owners unanimously authorized baseball's expansion to the west coast. The Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants were approved to move their franchises to Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively.
Brooklyn Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley had been trying to get a new stadium built in Brooklyn to replace the 32,000 seat Ebbets Field that he felt his team had outgrown. His unsuccessful attempts to get the new stadium approvals led to meetings with Los Angeles officials, where over a series of secret discussions the plan to move baseball to California was hatched. San Francisco mayor George Christopher, hearing about the O'Malley meetings, arranged to meet with Giants owner Horace Stoneham. Stoneham's Giants were not drawing fans on a consistent basis and he felt that a move to the west coast would revitalize the franchise.
On May 28th their wishes were granted, with only two conditions placed on the deal.
1) One team could not go without the other. If one team backed out the deal was off.
2) Both teams had to make their announcements before October 1, 1957.
Unfortunately for New York baseball fans both conditions were met and their beloved teams were gone by the start of the 1958 season.
New York was left with no National League team until 1962 when the New York Mets began play in Queens.
As a side note, ever wonder why the Mets uniforms are orange and blue? To embrace the mourning Giants and Dodgers fan base the Mets took orange from the Giants and blue from the Dodgers. Who knows if it worked, but the effort and idea were appreciated.
In this picture Giants owner Horace Stoneham (third from left) listens to Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley (far left) as he discusses the potential move with NY mayor Rober Wagner (middle).
Dodgers fans try to keep their team in Brooklyn
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