Major League Baseball on DuMont
Major League Baseball on DuMont refers to the now defunct DuMont Television Network's coverage of Major League Baseball. More specifically, DuMont broadcast the World Series (during its very early years as a televised event) from 1947-1949.
World Series coverage
Gillette, who produced World Series telecasts from roughly 1947-1965 (before 1966, local announcers, who were chosen by the Gillette Company, the Commissioner of Baseball, and NBC television, exclusively called the World Series), paid for airtime on DuMont's owned-and-operated Pittsburgh affiliate, WDTV (now KDKA-TV) air the World Series. In the meantime, Gillette also bought airtime on ABC, CBS, and NBC. More to the point, in some cities, the World Series was broadcast on three different stations at once. For example, the 1947 World Series (for which DuMont only televised Games 2, 6–7 with Bill Slater on the call) was only seen in four markets via coaxial inter-connected stations: New York City, New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Schenectady, New York; Washington, District of Columbia; and, environs surrounding these cities. Outside of New York, coverage was pooled.
For the 1948 World Series, games in Boston were only seen in the Northeast. Meanwhile, games in Cleveland were only seen in the Midwest and Pittsburgh. The games were open to all channels with a network affiliation. In all, the 1948 World Series was televised to fans in seven Midwestern cities: Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Toledo. By 1949, World Series games could now be seen east of the Mississippi River. The games were open to all channels with a network affiliation.
Attempts at creating a regular season national package
By the start of the 1950s, Major League Baseball was for the most part, still in the province of the local market television stations. Outside of these markets however, televised baseball (unlike on radio) was rare. DuMont's sports programming head, Thomas McMahon was working with individual owners to televise Major League Baseball's first regular season national games in the summer of 1953.
McMahon planned (as far back as January 1953) to set up a corporation to sell the national MLB telecasts meanwhile, giving stock shares to minor league teams. More specifically, McMahon's plan was to negotiate with individual teams rather than Major League Baseball as a whole. This way, McMahon could avoid a potential antitrust suit from the Department of Justice. In order to counter the possible negative effect on the minors (which Western League president Edwin C. Johnson most predominately feared), McMahon would offer them a piece of the national television pie. Furthermore, McMahan argued that since the planned DuMont games would be held on Saturday afternoons, the minors that scheduled most of their games in the evening wouldn't have been greatly effected.
Ultimately however, the first national Game of the Week package didn't air on DuMont, but on ABC. In April 1953, ABC set out to sell teams rights but instead, only got the Philadelphia Athletics, Cleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox to sign on. To make matters worse, Major League Baseball barred the Game of the Week from airing within 50 miles of any ballpark.
Major League Baseball on DuMont's affiliates
DuMont's owned-and-operated stations are highlighted in yellow. The Paramount owned-and-operated stations, which didn't carry DuMont programs but were ruled DuMont O&Os by the FCC, are shown in pink. Since relocated franchises are listed in italics.
|Boston Braves||WBZ 4/WNAC 7 (later WHDH)
|Brooklyn Dodgers||WABD 5 (later WNYW)||August 17, 1953-October 1, 1953|
|Chicago Cubs||WGN 9||1948-present|
|Cincinnati Reds||WLWT 5||1948-1995|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||KTTV 11
|Milwaukee Braves||WTMJ 4||1962-1964|
|Milwaukee Brewers||WTMJ 4
|Philadelphia Phillies||WFIL 6 (later WPVI)||1959-1970|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||KDKA 2||1958-1995|
|San Diego Padres||KFMB 8||1980-1983; 1995-1996|
|St. Louis Cardinals||KSDK 5 (formerly KSD)||1948-1958; 1963-1987; 2007-2010|
- Gallant, Joseph. "Channel 12: Feedback". DuMont Television Network | Historical Website. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Fitzpatrick, Frank (21 October 2012). "A look back at first TV broadcasts of World Series in 1947". Philly.com. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
- Lewis, David L. (1976). The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 466.
- Stewart, B.W. (October 5, 1947). "BASEBALL ON VIDEO; Television, Despite Some Handicaps, Scores in World Series Coverage". New York Times. p. X11.
- Associated Press (September 24, 1948). "Will Carry Series on 5 Networks". Schenectady Gazette. p. 21.
- Wolters, Larry (September 24, 1948). "All Chains Get Offer on Series TV". Chicago Tribune. p. C4.
- Buttefield, C.E. (September 19, 1949). "World Series Via Video Destined for 45 Stations". The St. Petersburg Independent. Associated Press. p. 8.
- Drebinger, John (October 5, 1949). "Reynolds to Face Newcombe (Maybe) in Opener of Series Today". New York Times. p. 38.
- Radio Master: The Life and Times of Sports Broadcasting Great Ted Husing.
- Walker and Bellamy, James R. and Robert V. Center Field Shot: A History of Baseball on Television.
- Ames, Walter (June 13, 1953). "Major League Ball Game on KECA-TV; Topper Series Set as 'Irma' Replacement". Los Angeles Times. p. A5.
- Associated Press (June 6, 1953). "Albany Club Owner Asks for Video Of Major League Games in His Area". Hartford Courant.
- Ames, Walter (May 8, 1954). "L.A.-Las Vegas Relay Ready by Fall; Lamenting Berle Seeks New Home". Los Angeles Times. p. A5.
- Associated Press (March 11, 1954). "TV Baseball Ban Denied By Official". The Daily Reporter. p. 1.
- Associated Press (March 14, 1954). "Club Owners Veto Television of Spring Games". The Spokane-Review. p. 1.