Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The first ever televised MLB game

I got this piece from a Southern California newspaper. Today is the 70th anniversary of the first televised MLB game between the Dodgers and Reds at Citi Ebbets Field. It was Saturday, August 26, 1939, with the game broadcast on W2XBS (later WNBC) with Red Barber in the catbird seat. The only TV sets in the US able to receive the broadcast (remember this is before World War II) were at the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center and at the 1939 Worlds Fair (which of course was just across the tracks from what is now Shea Stadium Citi Field.

From Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News.

One camera was on Barber from ground level; the other was behind the plate in the upper deck. Barber had to guess from which light was on and where it pointed because he had no monitor and commication with NBC director Burke Crotty went out early in the game. Barber sat in an upper deck seat behind third base.

Televising both games, plus the 20 minutes in between, took only about four hours. The first game went 1 hour, 46 minutes. The second was 2 hours and 1 minute.

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