Major League Baseball on Mutual

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Major League Baseball on Mutual was the de facto title of the Mutual Broadcasting System's (MBS) national radio coverage of Major League Baseball games. Mutual's coverage came about during the Golden Age of Radio in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. During this period, television sports broadcasting was in its infancy, and radio was still the main form of broadcasting baseball. For many years, Mutual was the national radio broadcaster for baseball's All-Star Game and World Series.

History of coverage[edit]

Mutual started its baseball coverage in 1935, when the network joined NBC and CBS in national radio coverage. The three networks continued to share coverage of baseball's "jewels" (the All-Star Game and World Series) in this manner through 1938, with Mutual gaining exclusive rights to the World Series in 1939 and the All-Star Game in 1942. In 1949, Commissioner Happy Chandler[1] negotiated a seven-year, $4,370,000 contract with the Gillette Safety Razor Company and the Mutual Broadcasting System for radio rights to the World Series, with the proceeds going directly into the pension fund. In 1957, NBC replaced Mutual as the exclusive national radio broadcaster for the World Series and All-Star Game.

Following the lead of the rival Liberty Broadcasting System, Mutual also aired regular-season Game of the Day broadcasts (a precursor to television's Game of the Week concept) to non-major-league cities throughout the 1940s and '50s.

Attempts at television coverage[edit]

In 1950, MBS acquired the television broadcast rights to the World Series and All-Star Game for the next six years. Mutual may have been reindulging in TV network dreams or simply taking advantage of a long-standing business relationship; in either case, the broadcast rights were sold to NBC in time for the following season's games at an enormous profit.

Announcers[edit]

Game of the Day[edit]

World Series[edit]

1950s[edit]

Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s)
1956 Bob Wolff Bob Neal
1955 Al Helfer Bob Neal
1954 Al Helfer Jimmy Dudley
1953 Al Helfer Gene Kelly
1952 Al Helfer Jack Brickhouse and Bill Corum
1951 Mel Allen Al Helfer
1950 Mel Allen Jim Britt

1940s[edit]

Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s)
1949 Mel Allen Red Barber
1948 Mel Allen Jim Britt
1947 Mel Allen Red Barber
1946 Jim Britt Arch McDonald and Bill Corum
1945 Bill Slater Al Helfer
1944 Bill Slater Don Dunphy and Bill Corum
1943 Red Barber Bob Elson and Bill Corum
1942 Red Barber Mel Allen
1941 Red Barber Bob Elson
1940 Red Barber Bob Elson

1930s[edit]

Year Play-by-play Color commentator
1939 Red Barber Bob Elson
1938 Red Barber Bob Elson
1937 Bob Elson John O’Hara and David Driscoll
1936 Bob Elson Gabriel Heatter
1935 Bob Elson Red Barber and Quin Ryan

All-Star Game[edit]

1950s[edit]

Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Venue/Host team
1956 Bob Neal Bob Wolff Griffith Stadium, Washington Senators
1955 Bob Neal Earl Gillespie County Stadium, Milwaukee Braves
1954 Jim Dudley Al Helfer Municipal Stadium, Cleveland Indians
1953 Al Helfer Waite Hoyt Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds
1952 Al Helfer Gene Kelly Shibe Park, Philadelphia Phillies
1951 Al Helfer Mel Allen Briggs Stadium, Detroit Tigers
1950 Mel Allen Jim Britt Comiskey Park, Chicago White Sox

1940s[edit]

Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Venue/Host team
1949 Mel Allen Jim Britt Ebbets Field, Brooklyn Dodgers
1948 Mel Allen Jim Britt and France Laux Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Browns
1947 Mel Allen Jim Britt Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs
1946 Mel Allen Jim Britt and Bill Corum Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox
1945 Not held because of World War II
1944 Don Dunphy Bill Slater and Bill Corum Forbes Field, Pittsburgh Pirates
1943 Mel Allen Red Barber and Bill Corum Shibe Park, Philadelphia Athletics
1942 Mel Allen Jim Britt and Bob Elson Polo Grounds, New York Giants
1941 Red Barber Bob Elson Briggs Stadium, Detroit Tigers
1940 Red Barber Bob Elson Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Cardinals

Two nights following the 1942 All-Star Game, the American League All-Stars traveled to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, to play a special benefit game against a team of players from the U.S. Army and Navy. The contest, which the American Leaguers won 5-0, attracted a crowd of 62,094 and netted $70,000 for the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the Navy Relief Society. Mutual Radio broadcast the second game, with Bob Elson, Waite Hoyt, and Jack Graney announcing.

1930s[edit]

Year Play-by-play Color Commentator(s) Venue/Host team
1939 Red Barber Bob Elson Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees
1938 Bob Elson Dick Bray Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds
1937 Mel Allen Jim Britt Griffith Stadium, Washington Senators
1936 Fred Hoey Linus Travers National League Park, Boston Bees
1935 Bob Elson Eddie Vander Pyl Municipal Stadium, Cleveland Indians

References[edit]