Radio First

Today marks the 90th anniversary of baseball’s first radio broadcast. Way back on August 5th, 1921, the Pittsburgh Pirates played the Philadelphia Phillies at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. On any ordinary day, this particular game would not have been a hot topic in the world of sports. The Pirates were sitting atop the National League with a record of 64-35, while the Phillies sat in the basement of the National League with a record of 30-68. But this was no ordinary day.

 

For the first time in Major League Baseball history, baseball enthusiasts would be able to follow their favorite team without actually attending the game. The broadcast was put together by the local radio network KDKA, and the game was called by KDKA staffer Harold Arlin. While the matchup was not ideal for this historical broadcast, the game proved to be very entertaining. The Phillies and Pirates would change leads 3 times and take a tied game into the bottom of the 8th inning. The home team would score 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th, however, and the Pirates ended up winning the game 8-5. KDKA proved to be a pioneer for sports radio broadcasting. It would also broadcast the first on air boxing match (Johnny Dundee vs. Johnny Ray in April) and college football game (Pitt vs. WVU in October) that same year.

 

    

 

 

August 5, 2011 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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1909

We're starting Pirates week with a look at a historic year in the Pirates long and storied legacy.  Forbes Field, Honus Wagner and a World Series victory, it's obviously 1909.

From 1891 - 1909  the Pirates played their home games at Exposition Park, located alongside the Allegheny River.  With it's riverside location the park was susceptible to floods and was in a state of general disrepair. So it was with great joy and celebration that the Pirates moved to the newly built Forbes Field on June 30th, 1909.  In the first game at the new park the Pirates fell to the first place Chicago Cubs 3 -2. But the loss was minor because the focus was on the Pirates new home.  The new stadium held approximately 25,000 people and was the first stadium to include ramps, elevators and "luxury suites."   Forbes Field, named after General John Forbes, a French and Indian War hero, remained the home to the Pirates for over sixty years.

 

The 1909 Pirates were led by Hall of Fame SS Honus Wagner. 

 

"The Flying Dutchman"  had a career year in '09, leading the league in numerous categories including Batting Average (.339), On Base Percentage (.420), Doubles (39) and RBI's (100).  Honus led the 1909 Pirates to a 110 - 42 record and to a World Series meeting with Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers.


The battle of the league's two greatest hitters started off in Pittsburgh on October 8.  Pirates pitcher Babe Adams threw a six hitter in game one and the Pirates took the game 4 - 1.

Ty Cobb stole the show in game two, literally.  The future Hall of Famer stole home in the third inning and inspired the Tigers to a 7 - 2 game two victory.

In Detroit's Bennett Park for game three, Wagner took over and led the Pirates to an 8 - 6 victory.  Wagner dominated with three hits, three RBI's and three stolen bases. 

Game four went to Detroit as pitcher George Mullin struck out the Pirates ten times and threw a 5 - 0 shutout.

With the series tied at two, Babe Adams took the mound again and threw another six hit gem with the Pirates winning 8 - 4.

As expected, the Tigers took game six in Detroit, 5 - 4, and the clubs headed back to Forbes Field for game seven. 

With World Series ace Babe Adams on the mound for game seven the Pirates dominated and Adams threw his third six hitter, leading the Pirates to an 8 - 0 victory and their second official World Series.

Overall, Wagner outplayed Cobb in the battle of Hall of Famers.  Wagner had a .333 batting average while Cobb only hit .231 in his final World Series appearance.  Check out the simple but elegant jesey that the Pirates wore during this historic season.

 

May 24, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (1) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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