Today in media history: The first televised World Series game

September 30, 2014
Category: Uncategorized

73,365 fans filled Yankee Stadium on September 30, 1947 to watch game one of the World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Millions of people around the world listened to their radios as announcers Red Barber and Mel Allen called the game.

And for those lucky enough to have a TV, which were still hard to find in 1947, they could watch the first World Series game ever broadcast on television. Bob Stanton served as the NBC TV announcer. The Yankees beat the Dodgers 5-3.

Mel Allen and Red Barber remember the 1947 World Series:

In 2012 Philly.com posted a story about the first televised World Series game.

“For the first time, the World Series, America’s preeminent sporting
event, was being televised, and Philadelphians, as curious about the
new technology as the baseball, bunched around 7- and 10-inch screens
for a peek.

Not that there was much to see.

Sunlight and shadows obscured the NBC cameras’ view. The vantage point
was poor, a tiny cage suspended from Yankee Stadium’s first-base
stands. And the new and cumbersome equipment kept breaking down.

….By 1947, there were, by most estimates, fewer than 50,000 TVs,
most in bars, restaurants, and private clubs in the major cities of
the East Coast. (That year, by comparison, there were about 80 million
radios.)

TV sets sold for between $225 and $2,800, and there wasn’t much point
to having one unless you lived within range of a functioning TV
station. As of January 1946, only nine existed, including
Philadelphia’s Philco-owned WPZT.

But sports, particularly baseball and boxing, had helped fuel radio’s
rise, and TV, desperate then as now for programming, turned there as
well.

….Baseball-wise, the Yankees were the game’s best known and most
followed attraction. And interest in the Dodgers had spiked that year
thanks to a history-making rookie named Jackie Robinson.

Once NBC’s crew got situated in the Bronx stadium crow’s nest that
Sept. 30, the 2:20 p.m. game went on the air with virtually no
fanfare. Announcer Bob Stanton, who also hosted NBC’s Cavalcade of
Sports, welcomed the viewers and described the action much as a radio
broadcaster would.”