Major League Baseball on DuMont

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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[edit]

Gillette,[1] 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)[2] was only seen in four markets[3][4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7] The games were open to all channels with a network affiliation.[8]

Attempts at creating a regular season national package[edit]

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[9] was working with individual owners to televise Major League Baseball's first regular season national games in the summer of 1953.[10]

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,[11] and Chicago White Sox[12][13] to sign on.[14] To make matters worse, Major League Baseball barred the Game of the Week from airing within 50 miles of any ballpark.[15]

Major League Baseball on DuMont's affiliates[edit]

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.

American League[edit]

Team Stations Years
Baltimore Orioles WJZ 13 1958-1961; 1964-1978
1994-present
Boston Red Sox WBZ-TV
WNAC 7 (later WHDH)
WLVI 56
1948-1974; 2003 (a handful of games)
1948-1954
1999
Chicago White Sox WGN 9 19481967; 1981; 1990-present
Cleveland Indians WEWS 5
WXEL 8 (later WJW)
1948-1949; 1956-1960
1950-1955
Detroit Tigers WDIV 4 (formerly WWDT & WWJ-TV)
WJBK 2
1948-1952; 1978-1994
1953-1977; 2007
Houston Astros KPRC 2 19731978 (Sundays only from 19771978)
Kansas City Athletics WDAF 4
KCMO 5 (later KCTV)
1958-1961
1962-1967
Kansas City Royals KMBC 9 1969-1971
1998-2002
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim KTLA 5 1964-1995
Minnesota Twins WTCN 11 (later KARE)
KMSP 9
1961-1972; 1975-1978
1979-1988; 1998-2002
New York Yankees WABD 1946-1950; 1999-2001
Oakland Athletics KPIX 5 1975-1981; 1985-1992
Philadelphia Athletics WFIL 6 (later WPVI) 1949-1954
Washington Senators (original franchise) WTTG 5 1948-1958
Seattle Mariners KING 5
KSTW 11
KXLY 4 (Spokane)
1977-1980
1981-1985; 1989-1993; 1999; 2003-2007
1991
St. Louis Browns KSD 5 (later KSDK)
KTVI 2
1948-1952
1953

National League[edit]

Team Stations Years
Boston Braves WBZ 4/WNAC 7 (later WHDH)
WBZ-TV
1948-1949
1950-1952
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
KTLA 5
1993-2001
1958-1992
Milwaukee Braves WTMJ 4 1962-1964
Milwaukee Brewers WTMJ 4
WVTV 18
1972-1980
1981-1988; 1993-1997
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

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gallant, Joseph. "Channel 12: Feedback". DuMont Television Network | Historical Website. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Fitzpatrick, Frank (21 October 2012). "A look back at first TV broadcasts of World Series in 1947". Philly.com. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Lewis, David L. (1976). The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 466. 
  4. ^ Stewart, B.W. (October 5, 1947). "BASEBALL ON VIDEO; Television, Despite Some Handicaps, Scores in World Series Coverage". New York Times. p. X11. 
  5. ^ Associated Press (September 24, 1948). "Will Carry Series on 5 Networks". Schenectady Gazette. p. 21. 
  6. ^ Wolters, Larry (September 24, 1948). "All Chains Get Offer on Series TV". Chicago Tribune. p. C4. 
  7. ^ Buttefield, C.E. (September 19, 1949). "World Series Via Video Destined for 45 Stations". The St. Petersburg Independent. Associated Press. p. 8. 
  8. ^ Drebinger, John (October 5, 1949). "Reynolds to Face Newcombe (Maybe) in Opener of Series Today". New York Times. p. 38. 
  9. ^ Radio Master: The Life and Times of Sports Broadcasting Great Ted Husing. 
  10. ^ Walker and Bellamy, James R. and Robert V. Center Field Shot: A History of Baseball on Television. 
  11. ^ Ames, Walter (June 13, 1953). "Major League Ball Game on KECA-TV; Topper Series Set as 'Irma' Replacement". Los Angeles Times. p. A5. 
  12. ^ Associated Press (June 6, 1953). "Albany Club Owner Asks for Video Of Major League Games in His Area". Hartford Courant. 
  13. ^ Ames, Walter (May 8, 1954). "L.A.-Las Vegas Relay Ready by Fall; Lamenting Berle Seeks New Home". Los Angeles Times. p. A5. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (March 11, 1954). "TV Baseball Ban Denied By Official". The Daily Reporter. p. 1. 
  15. ^ Associated Press (March 14, 1954). "Club Owners Veto Television of Spring Games". The Spokane-Review. p. 1.