OLDTIME BASEBALL ANNOUNCERS
The other day I was reading “A Picture Postcard History of Baseball,” by Ron Menchine.
Harold W. Arlin, on station KDKA, on August 5, 1921, did the first baseball game announced over radio. The game was between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies at Forbes Field. Arlin used a telephone converted into a microphone observing the game from ground level. Arlin was foreman at Westinghouse and worked for the company-owned station as a moonlighter. Reading this sparked my memory of radio broadcasters when I started listening to games in the late 30s and early 40s.
Jack Graney was the first player to make baseball broadcasting a second career. He played for the Cleveland Indians 1908-1922 and broadcasted their games from 1932-1953.
The best of the radio announcers, Mel Allen, did 19 World Series games, starting in 1938. Ty Tyson and Harry Heilman did Detroit games. Tyson played a lot of Minor League baseball and Heilman played 17 years in the Major Leagues, 15 for Detroit and 2 for Cincinnati. Harry hit .403 in 1923 and led the American league in hitting every odd year, 1921, 1923, 1925 and 1927.
I remember Bob Elson and Jack Brickhouse. One year both were announcing White Sox games for different stations. Bob Elson had the habit of listening to Brickhouse in the next booth and passing on tidbits to his audience.
Brickhouse decided to fix Elson, so one afternoon Jack shut his mike off and stated, “Friends we just got word that Leslie O’Conner has been elected as Baseball Commissioner.”
Sure enough, Elson broadcasted that over his station. Brickhouse had duped his old pal. Listening to baseball on radio was certainly the good old days, and That’s The Way I Saw It.
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