Tuesday, August 14, 2007


The olden days

Phil Rizzuto's death today comes just a couple of days after I (finally) listened to a Christmas present from my father: a 2-CD set containing the radio broadcast of the Yankees and Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1949 World Series (the deciding game). At one point during the game, Mel Allen points out that if you saw Scooter walking with the rest of the team, because of his small size, you might think he was the batboy.

It was a game with a lot of action (16 total runs), but I found the radio broadcast more interesting for things other than the game itself. Red Barber and Mel Allen were the announcers, with each responsible for the team they announced for during the regular season -- Mel was at the mike by himself in the half-innings when the Yankees were batting, with Red while the Dodgers were up. Occasionally, they would talk to each other between innings, mostly to do live commercials for Gillette (all of the commercials were for Gillette -- this was a "Gillette Cavalcade of Sports" broadcast).

At one point, Red Barber mentions that Jerry Coleman was moving Jackie Robinson's glove out of the way -- fielders used to leave their gloves at their position. And Mel Allen refers to the fact that the American League umpires were wearing their chest protectors on the outside, and the National League umpires were wearing them on the inside.

There's also a mention that this Sunday game started an hour late (2:00 instead of 1:00) due to "New York state law" and couldn't go past 7:00 for the same reason. Because of all the action, the game goes fairly long, and the umpires confer with commissioner Happy Chandler in the stands, with the results being that the lights are turned on for the first time during a World Series game.

And for a broadcasting geek like me -- I didn't realize the phrase "let's pause 10 seconds for station identification" was that old, but there it was, followed by a station identification for "WOR and WOR-FM, New York" and a suggestion to watch the game on WOR-TV, Channel 9. Yes, I did know WOR-FM and WOR-TV were that old.

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