List of Major League Baseball prime time television broadcasters

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The first night game in Major League Baseball history occurred on May 24, 1935 when the Cincinnati Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2–1 at Crosley Field.[1] The original plan was that the Reds would play seven night games each season, one against each visiting club.[2] Night baseball quickly found acceptance in other Major League cities and eventually became the norm; the term "day game" was subsequently coined to designate the increasingly rarer afternoon contests.

Monday Night Baseball was born on October 19, 1966 when NBC signed a three-year contract to televise the game. Under the deal, NBC paid roughly $6 million per year for the 25 Games of the Week, $6.1 million for the 1967 World Series and 1967 All-Star Game, and $6.5 million for the 1968 World Series and 1968 All-Star Game. This brought the total value of the contract (which included three Monday night telecasts each season) up to $30.6 million.

The last non-expansion/non-relocated team to play all their home games in the daytime were the Chicago Cubs; they played their first official night game in Wrigley Field on August 9, 1988 and beat the New York Mets 6–4, one night after their initial attempt at night baseball (against the Philadelphia Phillies) was rained out before it became official.[3] The Cubs still play the fewest home night games of any major league club (35 per season, as of 2014).

The first night All-Star Game was held at Philadelphia's Shibe Park in 1943, while the first World Series night game was Game 4 of the 1971 Series at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. All All-Star Games since 1969, and all World Series games since Game 6 of the 1987 Series, have been played at night.

2010s[edit]

Year Network(s) Play-by-play Color commentary
2018 ESPN Matt Vasgersian
Jon Sciambi
Dave Flemming
Sean McDonough
Steve Levy
Karl Ravech
Alex Rodriguez
Jessica Mendoza
Rick Sutcliffe
Eduardo Perez
David Ross
Tim Kurkjian
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
2017 ESPN Dan Shulman
Jon Sciambi
Dave O'Brien
Dave Flemming
Sean McDonough
Steve Levy
Karl Ravech
Aaron Boone
Jessica Mendoza
Rick Sutcliffe
Eduardo Perez
Doug Glanville
David Ross
Tim Kurkjian
Dallas Braden
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Paul Severino
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Tom Verducci
2016 ESPN Dan Shulman
Chris Berman
Jon Sciambi
Dave Flemming
Sean McDonough
Steve Levy
Karl Ravech
Aaron Boone
Jessica Mendoza
Rick Sutcliffe
Eduardo Perez
John Kruk
Curt Schilling
Doug Glanville
Dallas Braden
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Mike Emrick
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Tom Verducci
Harold Reynolds
2015 ESPN Dan Shulman
Chris Berman
Jon Sciambi
Dave O'Brien
Dave Flemming
Sean McDonough
Steve Levy
Karl Ravech
John Kruk
Curt Schilling
Rick Sutcliffe
Aaron Boone
Doug Glanville
Manny Acta
Mark Mulder
Dallas Braden
Jessica Mendoza
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Jim Kaat
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Tom Verducci
Tim McCarver
2014 ESPN Dan Shulman
Chris Berman
Jon Sciambi
Dave O'Brien
Sean McDonough
Steve Levy
Karl Ravech
John Kruk
Curt Schilling
Rick Sutcliffe
Aaron Boone
Doug Glanville
Manny Acta
Mark Mulder
Barry Larkin
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Jim Kaat
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Tom Verducci
Bob Uecker
2013 ESPN Dan Shulman
Chris Berman
Dave O'Brien
Sean McDonough
Jon Sciambi
Steve Levy
Karl Ravech
Orel Hershiser
John Kruk
Rick Sutcliffe
Aaron Boone
Nomar Garciaparra
Doug Glanville
Manny Acta
Curt Schilling
Mark Mulder
Barry Larkin
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Paul Severino
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Tom Verducci
Joe Magrane
Harold Reynolds
Al Leiter
Billy Ripken
2012 ESPN Dan Shulman
Chris Berman
Dave O'Brien
Sean McDonough
Steve Berthiaume
Orel Hershiser
Terry Francona
Rick Sutcliffe
Aaron Boone
Nomar Garciaparra
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Brian Kenny
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Billy Ripken
Al Leiter
2011 ESPN Dan Shulman
Chris Berman
Dave O'Brien
Sean McDonough
Steve Berthiaume
Orel Hershiser
Bobby Valentine
Rick Sutcliffe
Aaron Boone
Nomar Garciaparra
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Rich Waltz
Jim Kaat
Al Michaels
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
David Cone
Tom Verducci
Sean Casey
Joe Magrane
2010 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Steve Berthiaume
Joe Morgan
Orel Hershiser
Rick Sutcliffe
Aaron Boone
Nomar Garciaparra
Chris Singleton
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Greg Amsinger
Jim Kaat
John Smoltz
Joe Magrane
Mitch Williams
Sean Casey
Harold Reynolds
Tom Verducci
Barry Larkin

Notes[edit]

  • In 2010, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan began their 21st consecutive season working together for ESPN. Among U.S. network television sportscasters, only Pat Summerall and John Madden (who called NFL games for CBS and Fox from 1981 to 2001) have had a similar length partnership in the booth. Following the 2010 season, ESPN announced that the television contracts of Miller and Morgan would not be renewed.[4] Miller was offered, but chose to decline, a continued role with ESPN Radio.[5]
  • Play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman joined color commentators Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine as the new Sunday Night Baseball crew beginning in 2011.[7] In an essential trade deal, following the hiring of Valentine as the Boston Red Sox manager, his predecessor Terry Francona was hired to join Shulman and Hershiser for the 2012 season.[8] Francona stayed with ESPN for only one season before he was hired by the Cleveland Indians to be their manager for the 2013 season. Francona was replaced by John Kruk, who had been part of the Baseball Tonight team since 2004. Like Miller and Morgan before them, Shulman and Hershiser also formed the lead team on ESPN Radio's World Series coverage. Prior to the 2014 season, Hershiser left ESPN to become an analyst for the Dodgers on SportsNet LA, and was replaced by Curt Schilling; however, Schilling's subsequent diagnosis of and treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer led to his being unavailable to ESPN for most of the season.[9] Shulman and Kruk worked as a two-man booth until Schilling joined them in September.[10]
  • On August 30, 2015, former softball player Jessica Mendoza joined the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team as a color commentator. For the 2016 MLB season, former Yankees player Aaron Boone joined Shulman and Mendoza in the broadcast booth as the second color commentator for SNB. Shulman stepped down at the conclusion of the 2017 season,[13] while Boone left the booth after being named new Yankees manager. [14]
  • On January 23, 2018, ESPN announced that Alex Rodriguez and Matt Vasgersian would join the SNB crew for the 2018 season as analyst and play-by-play respectively.[15]

2000s[edit]

Year Network(s) Play-by-play Color commentary
2009 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Steve Berthiaume
Joe Morgan
Orel Hershiser
Steve Phillips
MLB Network Bob Costas
Matt Vasgersian
Victor Rojas
Jim Kaat
Harold Reynolds
Joe Magrane
Mitch Williams
Dan Plesac
Clint Hurdle
2008 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Steve Berthiaume
Joe Morgan
Orel Hershiser
Steve Phillips
2007 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Steve Berthiaume
Joe Morgan
Rick Sutcliffe
Orel Hershiser
Steve Phillips
2006 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Joe Morgan
Rick Sutcliffe
Orel Hershiser
2005 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Jon Sciambi
Joe Morgan
Buck Martinez
Rick Sutcliffe
Jeff Brantley
Tony Gwynn
2004 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Joe Morgan
Buck Martinez
Rick Sutcliffe
Jeff Brantley
Tony Gwynn
2003 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Dave O'Brien
Joe Morgan
Buck Martinez
Rick Sutcliffe
Jeff Brantley
Tony Gwynn
2002 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
Rick Sutcliffe
Jeff Brantley
Tony Gwynn
2001 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Orel Hershiser
FX/FSN Kenny Albert
Josh Lewin
Steve Physioc
Matt Vasgersian
Joel Meyers
Tom Paciorek
Duane Kuiper
Kevin Kennedy
Rick Manning
Rod Allen
Keith Hernandez
George Frazier
Steve Lyons
Ray Fosse
Jay Johnstone
Kirk Gibson
Mike Krukow
John Kruk
2000 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
FX/FSN Kenny Albert
Josh Lewin
Steve Physioc
Matt Vasgersian
Rich Waltz
Chip Caray
Greg Papa
Jeff Torborg
Kevin Kennedy
Ken Brett
Steve Lyons
Bob Brenly
John Cerutti
Ray Fosse

Notes[edit]

  • In 2000, as part of an exclusive contract Fox signed with MLB, that coverage passed to Fox Family Channel and was reduced to one game per week. After the 2000 season, Fox also gained rights to the entire postseason and moved a large portion of its Division Series coverage to Fox Family. This lasted for one season due to The Walt Disney Company making a bid for Fox Family. As part of the negotiations Fox Family was renamed ABC Family and ESPN gained the rights to Fox Family and FX's MLB coverage, although the 2002 Division Series aired on ABC Family due to contractual issues, but with ESPN production, a sign of things to come at ABC Sports. Control of the overall contract remained with Fox, meaning they could renegotiate following the 2006 season and not allow ESPN to retain its postseason coverage. For the 2007 season, Fox did exactly that, and TBS is now the cable home of the postseason as part of its new baseball contract.
    • For the 2000 and 2001 seasons, the Fox network's then-sister cable channel, Fox Family (later ABC Family, now Freeform) carried a weekly Major League Baseball game on Thursday nights (a game that had previously aired nationwide on Fox Sports Net from 1997 to 1999), as well as select postseason games from the Division Series. Among the noteworthy games that aired on Fox Family was the October 4, 2001 game between the San Francisco Giants and the Houston Astros, during which Barry Bonds hit his 70th home run of the season, which tied the all-time single season record that Mark McGwire had set only three years earlier (Bonds broke the record the next night). Meanwhile, the Fox Broadcasting Company's other sister cable channel FX, aired numerous Saturday night Major League Baseball contests in 2001, including Cal Ripken, Jr.'s final game at Camden Yards. FX also aired one game in the Major League Baseball postseason each year from 2001 to 2005, on the first Wednesday night of League Championship Series week when the league scheduled two games at the same time. On that night, Fox distributed one game to local affiliates with the availability of coverage being based on region, and the other game aired on the corresponding cable affiliate of FX, the main DirecTV or Dish Network channel, or an alternate channel on the satellite providers.
    • As part of its 2001 purchase of Fox Family, in addition to rights to the Thursday night game, The Walt Disney Company acquired the MLB rights that were also held by FX. Those two game packages were moved to ESPN beginning with the 2002 baseball season; however, the playoff games remained on ABC Family for one additional year due to contractual issues. A deal was reached to move those playoff games to ESPN, which produced the games for ABC Family, starting with the 2003 season. Although the games aired on networks owned by Disney, Fox kept the exclusive negotiation rights to renew the contract after the 2006 season. Fox chose not to renew its rights to the Division Series, which went to TBS as part of its new baseball contract.
    • From 2000 to 2005, ESPN's Wednesday night broadcasts consisted of a doubleheader, usually airing the first game at 7pm ET on ESPN and the second at 10pm ET on ESPN2. The second part of the doubleheader was discontinued after 2005 season.
  • ESPN Thursday Night Baseball aired on either ESPN or ESPN2 from 2003 to 2006 and featured one game per week. It aired every Thursday at either 1 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. ET or 8:00 ET. Castrol served as the presenting sponsor for the telecasts. The play-by-play commentator was Chris Berman along with either Joe Morgan or Eric Karros as color commentator. In 2006, Duke Castiglione joined the broadcast as the field reporter. ESPN Thursday Night Baseball was discontinued after the 2006 season because the broadcast rights to the package were lost to TBS. TBS shows the games on Sunday afternoons that ESPN previously aired on Thursday nights. The games were then moved to ESPN and ESPN2. Thursday Night Baseball was replaced with MLS Primetime Thursday.[16]

1990s[edit]

Year Network(s) Play-by-play Color commentary
1999 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
FX/FSN Kenny Albert
Josh Lewin
Steve Physioc
Bob Davis
Matt Vasgersian
John Sanders
Dave Armstrong
Jeff Torborg
Kevin Kennedy
Rex Hudler
Ken Brett
Rick Manning
1998 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
FX/FSN Kenny Albert
Thom Brennaman
Chip Caray
Steve Physioc
Josh Lewin
Drew Goodman
Dick Stockton
Greg Papa
Jeff Torborg
Bob Brenly
Steve Lyons
Rick Cerone
Ken Brett
1997 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
FX/FSN Kenny Albert
Thom Brennaman
Chip Caray
Steve Physioc
Drew Goodman
Jeff Torborg
Bob Brenly
Steve Lyons
1996 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
1995 ABC Al Michaels
Brent Musburger
Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver
Jim Kaat
NBC Bob Costas
Greg Gumbel
Bob Uecker
Joe Morgan
ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Dan Shulman
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
1994 ABC Al Michaels Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver
ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
1993 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Gary Thorne
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
Tommy Hutton
Larry Sorenson
1992 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Tom Mees
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
Buck Martinez
Tommy Hutton
Larry Sorenson
1991 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell
1990 ESPN Jon Miller
Chris Berman
Bob Carpenter
Joe Morgan
Dave Campbell

Notes[edit]

  • On January 5, 1989, Major League Baseball signed a $400 million deal with ESPN, who would show over 175 games beginning in 1990. For the next four years, ESPN would televise six games a week (Sunday Night Baseball, Wednesday Night Baseball and doubleheaders on Tuesdays and Fridays), as well as multiple games on Opening Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Unlike ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball is not exclusive, but unlike Wednesday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball since 2007 co-exists with the local markets' carriers and is not always subject to blackout; ESPN can show teams up to three times a year in local markets alongside the local broadcasts.
  • For CBS' coverage of the 1991 All-Star Game from Toronto, CBS started their broadcast at the top of the hour with the customary pregame coverage. And then, because American President George H.W. Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney were throwing out the first ball, there was a slight delay from the 8:30 p.m. EDT start. The game eventually started about 15–20 minutes late. Presumably this, along with CBS' low ratings for baseball, and the costs of doing pregame coverage, led to them starting the prime time broadcasts at 8:30 for the final two years of the contract, with little or no pregame content.
  • In 1994, ABC and NBC began a package[26] included coverage of games in prime time[27] on selected nights throughout the regular season (under the branding Baseball Night in America),[28] along with coverage of the postseason and the World Series.[29] Unlike previous broadcasting arrangements with the league, there was no national "game of the week"[30] during the regular season;[31] these would be replaced by multiple weekly regional[32] telecasts on certain nights of the week. Additionally, The Baseball Network had exclusive coverage windows; no other broadcaster could televise MLB games during the same night that The Baseball Network was televising games.
    • After the All-Star Game was complete,[33] ABC took over coverage with what was to be their weekly slate of games.[34] ABC was scheduled to televise six[35] regular season games on Saturdays[36] or Mondays[37] in prime time. NBC[38][39] would then pick up where ABC left off by televising six more regular season Friday night[40][41] games. Every Baseball Night in America game was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Eastern Time (or 8 p.m. Pacific Time if the game occurred on the West Coast[42]). A single starting time gave the networks the opportunity to broadcast one game and then, simultaneously, cut to another game when there was a break in action.
    • The networks had exclusive rights for the twelve regular season dates, in that no regional or national cable service (such as ESPN or superstations like Chicago's WGN-TV[43] or Atlanta's WTBS) or over-the-air[44] broadcaster was allowed[45] to telecast a Major League Baseball game on those dates. Baseball Night in America[46] (which premiered[47] on July 16, 1994) usually aired up to fourteen games[48] based on the viewers' region (affiliates chose games of local interest to carry) as opposed to a traditional coast-to-coast format.[49] Normally, announcers who represented each of the teams playing in the respective games were paired with each other. More specifically, on regional Saturday night broadcasts and all non-"national" broadcasts, TBN let the two lead announcers from the opposing teams call the games involving their teams together.
    • Games involving either of the two Canadian-based MLB teams at the time, the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos, were not always included in the Baseball Night in America package. Canadian rightsholders were allowed to broadcast the games. When TSN (which owned the cable rights to the Blue Jays and Expos) covered the games in Canada, they re-broadcast the BNIA feed across their network. Typically, if the Blue Jays were idle for the day, the Expos would be featured on TSN. Also, CBET (the CBC affiliate in Windsor, Ontario) would air Blue Jays games if the Detroit Tigers were not playing at home that night or if the Blue Jays were scheduled to play in Detroit. Whether or not the game would air in the opposing team's market would depend on which time zone they were from, or if they shared a market with another team.
    • All of the 1994 games aired on ABC; due to the strike[50][51] NBC was unable[52] to air its slate of games, which were supposed to begin on August 26.[53][54]
  • From 1996-2000, NBC aired LDS games on Tuesday/Friday/Saturday nights. Fox aired LDS games on Wednesday/Thursday nights, Saturdays in the late afternoon, plus Sunday/Monday nights (if necessary). Meanwhile, ESPN carried many afternoon LDS contests. At this point, all playoff games were nationally televised (mostly in unopposed timeslots).
  • As part of its coverage of Mark McGwire's bid to break Roger Maris's single-season home run record in 1998, Fox aired a Sunday afternoon game between the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals on September 6 and a Tuesday night game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cardinals on September 8 of that year (McGwire hit his record-breaking 62nd home run of the season in the latter game, which earned a 14.5 rating share for Fox, and remains the network's highest-rated regular season Major League Baseball telecast to this day).

1980s[edit]

Year Network(s) Play-by-play Color commentary
1989 ABC Al Michaels
Gary Thorne
Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver
Joe Morgan
1988 ABC Al Michaels
Gary Bender
Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver
Joe Morgan
1987 ABC Al Michaels
Gary Bender
Jim Palmer
Tim McCarver
1986 ABC Al Michaels
Keith Jackson
Don Drysdale
Jim Palmer
Tim McCarver
Johnny Bench or Steve Busby
1985 ABC Al Michaels
Don Drysdale
Tim McCarver
Jim Palmer and Howard Cosell
Tim McCarver
Tommy John
1984 ABC Al Michaels
Don Drysdale
Earl Weaver and Howard Cosell or Jim Palmer
Tim McCarver
1983 ABC Al Michaels
Don Drysdale
Don Chevrier
Earl Weaver and Howard Cosell
Steve Stone
USA Eddie Doucette
Monte Moore
Al Albert
Nellie Briles
Wes Parker
1982 ABC Keith Jackson
Al Michaels
Don Drysdale
Don Drysdale and Howard Cosell
Bob Uecker and Steve Stone
USA Eddie Doucette
Monte Moore
Nellie Briles
Wes Parker
1981 ABC Keith Jackson
Al Michaels
Don Drysdale and Howard Cosell
Bob Uecker
USA Jim Woods
Monte Moore
Ned Martin
Nellie Briles
Wes Parker
Bob Prince
1980 ABC Al Michaels
Keith Jackson
Don Drysdale and Howard Cosell
Bob Uecker and Lou Brock
USA Jim Woods
Monte Moore
Nellie Briles
Maury Wills
Rico Petrocelli
Steve Grad

Notes[edit]

  • USA's coverage became a casualty of the new $1.2 billion TV contract between Major League Baseball, ABC and NBC beginning in 1984 and lasting through 1989. One of the provisions to the new deal was that local telecasts opposite network games had to be eliminated.[55]
  • NBC also would normally television two prime time games during the regular season (not including All-Star Games). Generally, NBC would broadcast one game on a Tuesday and the other on a Friday. They however, would have to compete against local teams' over-the-air broadcasts, putting NBC at risk of hampering its ratings.
  • On Thursday, October 10, 1985, NBC didn't come on the air for Game 2[63] of the NLCS until 8:30 p.m. ET to avoid disrupting The Cosby Show at 8 (similarly to how the network aired the soap opera Return to Peyton Place, before Game 5 of the 1972 World Series, rather than a pre-game show).[64] NBC would do the same thing for Thursday night games in subsequent postseasons.
  • In 1985, ABC announced that every game of the World Series would be played under the lights for the biggest baseball audience possible.
  • By 1986, ABC only televised 13 Monday Night Baseball games. This was a fairly sharp contrast to the 18 games to that were scheduled in 1978. Going into 1987, ABC had reportedly purchased 20 Monday night games but only used eight of those slots.
  • Although Al Michaels, Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver had done the 1985 and 1987 World Series together as well as the 1986 All-Star Game, ABC did not team them on a regular basis on Monday Night Baseball until 1988 (after three 'experiments' in 1987).
  • Game 6 of the 1988 World Series, was scheduled to start at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 22, but that game wasn't necessary. This is the last time a World Series game was scheduled outside of prime time.

1970s[edit]

Year Network(s) Play-by-play Color commentary
1979 ABC Keith Jackson
Al Michaels
Don Drysdale and Howard Cosell
Bob Uecker
USA Jim Woods
Monte Moore
Bob Prince
Bud Harrelson
Maury Wills
Nellie Briles
1978 ABC Keith Jackson
Al Michaels
Jim Lampley
Don Drysdale and Howard Cosell
Bob Uecker
Bill White
1977 ABC Keith Jackson
Al Michaels
Warner Wolf
Bob Uecker and Howard Cosell
Bill White
Bob Gibson
1976 ABC Bob Prince
Al Michaels
Bob Uecker and Warner Wolf
Bob Gibson and Norm Cash
1975 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Joe Garagiola
Maury Wills
1974 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Bill O'Donnell
Tony Kubek
Maury Wills
1973 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Tony Kubek
Maury Wills
1972 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Tony Kubek
Sandy Koufax
1971 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Tony Kubek
Sandy Koufax
1970 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Tony Kubek
Sandy Koufax

Notes[edit]

  • On October 13, 1971, the World Series held a night game for the very first time.[74] Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who felt that baseball could attract a larger audience by featuring a prime time telecast (as opposed to a mid-afternoon broadcast, occurring when most fans either worked or attended school), pitched the idea to NBC. An estimated 61 million people watched Game 4 on NBC; television ratings for a World Series game during the daytime hours would not have approached such a record number.
    • For World Series night games, NBC normally began baseball coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time with a pre-game show (with first pitch occurring around 8:20 to 8:25 p.m.). However, in 1986 and 1988, for Game 5 of the World Series (on Thursday night), NBC's coverage did not begin until 8:30. This allowed the network to air its highly rated sitcom The Cosby Show in its normal Thursday 8:00 p.m. timeslot. NBC went with carrying a very short pre-game show and got to first pitch at around 8:40 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • In 1972,[75] NBC began televising prime time regular-season games on Mondays, under a four-year contract worth $72 million. In 1973, NBC extended the Monday night telecasts (with a local blackout) to 15 consecutive games. NBC's last Monday Night Baseball game aired on September 1, 1975, in which the Montréal Expos beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 6–5. Curt Gowdy called the games with Tony Kubek from 1972 to 1974, being joined in the 1973 and 1974 seasons by various guest commentators from both within and outside of the baseball world (among them Dizzy Dean, Joe DiMaggio, Satchel Paige, Bobby Riggs, Dave DeBusschere, Howard Cosell, Mel Allen, Danny Kaye and Willie Mays). Jim Simpson and Maury Wills called the secondary backup games. Joe Garagiola hosted the pre-game show, The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola, and teamed with Gowdy to call the games in 1975.
  • During NBC's telecast of the Monday night DodgersBraves game on April 8, 1974, in which Hank Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th career home run,[76] Kubek criticized Commissioner Bowie Kuhn on-air for failing to be in attendance at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta on that historic night; Kuhn argued that he had a prior engagement that he could not break.
  • Starting in 1975, Joe Garagiola and Curt Gowdy alternated as the Saturday Game of Week play-by-play announcers with Tony Kubek doing color analysis. Then on weeks in which NBC had Monday Night Baseball, Gowdy and Garagiola worked together. One would call play-by-play for 4½ innings, the other would handle color analysis. Then in the bottom of the 5th inning, their roles switched.
  • In 1976, ABC picked up the television rights[77] for Monday Night Baseball[78] games from NBC. For most of its time on ABC, the Monday night games were held on "dead travel days" when few games were scheduled. The team owners liked that arrangement as the national telecasts didn't compete against their stadium box offices. ABC on the other hand, found the arrangement far more complicated. ABC often had only one or two games to pick from for each telecast from a schedule designed by Major League Baseball. While trying to give all of the teams national exposure, ABC ended up with far too many games between sub .500 clubs from small markets.
  • For Game 2 of the 1976 World Series, NBC and Major League Baseball experimented with a Sunday night telecast.
  • In 1979, the start of ABC's Monday Night Baseball coverage was moved back to June, due to poor ratings during the May sweeps period. In place of April and May prime time games, ABC began airing Sunday Afternoon Baseball games in September.[79] The network also aired one Friday night game (Yankees at Angels) on July 13 of that year.

1960s[edit]

Year Network(s) Play-by-play Color commentary
1969 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Tony Kubek
Sandy Koufax
1968 NBC Curt Gowdy
Jim Simpson
Pee Wee Reese and Sandy Koufax
Tony Kubek
1967 NBC Curt Gowdy Pee Wee Reese and Sandy Koufax

Notes[edit]

  • The 1967 All-Star Game in Anaheim can be considered the first "prime time" telecast[96] of a Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The game started at approximately 7:00 p.m. on the East Coast.
    • Sports Illustrated, noting that the game “began at 4 p.m. in California and ended at 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time,” reported “an estimated 55 million people watched the game, compared with 12 million viewers for the 1966 All-Star Game, played in the afternoon.”
    • The 1969 game was originally scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, July 22, but heavy rains forced its postponement to the following afternoon. The 1969 contest remains the last All-Star Game to date to be played earlier than prime time in the Eastern United States.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Night Baseball Comes to the Majors". CrosleyField.com. Archived from the original on 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
  2. ^ Hy Hurwitz, "Cronin Urges More Clubs to Put Player Names on Uniforms" The Sporting News, May 3, 1963, page 4.
  3. ^ "Wrigley Field History". MLB.com. Retrieved 2006-12-05.
  4. ^ Sandomir, Richard (November 8, 2010). "ESPN Breaks Up 'Sunday Night Baseball' Team". The New York Times.
  5. ^ Sandomir, Richard (2010-11-22). "Miller Declines ESPN's Radio Offer". The New York Times.
  6. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4965563
  7. ^ Smetlz, Nate (2010-12-01). "ESPN's Shulman, Hershiser and Valentine Form New Sunday Night Baseball Booth". ESPN MediaZone.
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