Major League Baseball on DuMont

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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] which produced World Series telecasts[2] 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) to 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)[3] was only seen in four markets[4][5] 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.[6][7] 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.[8] The games were open to all channels with a network affiliation.[9]

Year Network Play-by-play announcers
1949 NBC, CBS, DuMont and ABC Jim Britt[10]
1948 NBC, CBS, DuMont and ABC Red Barber[11]
Tom Hussey (Games 1–2, 6)
Van Patrick (Games 3–5)[12]
1947 NBC[13][14] (Games 1, 5)
CBS (Games 3–4)
DuMont (Games 2, 6–7)
Bob Stanton
Bob Edge
Bill Slater

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[15] was working with individual owners to televise Major League Baseball's first regular season national games in the summer of 1953.[16]

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,[17] the minors that scheduled most of their games in the evening wouldn't have been greatly affected.

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,[18] and Chicago White Sox[19][20] to sign on.[21] To make matters worse, Major League Baseball barred the Game of the Week from airing within 50 miles of any ballpark.[22]

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 did not carry DuMont programs but were ruled DuMont O&Os by the FCC, are shown in pink. Franchises that were later relocated are listed in italics.

American League[edit]

Team Stations Years
Baltimore Orioles WJZ 13 1958-1961; 1964-1978
Boston Red Sox WBZ-TV
WNAC 7 (later WHDH)
1948-1974; 2003 (a handful of games)
Chicago White Sox WGN 9 19481967; 1981; 1990-present
Cleveland Indians WEWS 5
WXEL 8 (later WJW)
1948-1949; 1956-1960
Detroit Tigers WDIV 4 (formerly WWDT & WWJ-TV)
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)
Kansas City Royals KMBC 9 1969-1971
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim KTLA 5 1964-1995
Minnesota Twins WTCN 11 (later KARE)
1961-1972; 1975-1978
1979-1988; 1998-2002
New York Yankees WABD 5 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
KXLY 4 (Spokane)
1981-1985; 1989-1993; 1999; 2003-2007
St. Louis Browns KSD 5 (later KSDK)

National League[edit]

Team Stations Years
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
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


  1. ^ Gallant, Joseph. "Channel 12: Feedback". DuMont Television Network | Historical Website. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  2. ^ Pappas, Doug. "Summer 1997: 75 Years of National Baseball Broadcasts". Outside the Lines. Archived from the original on 2017-09-01.
  3. ^ Fitzpatrick, Frank (21 October 2012). "A look back at first TV broadcasts of World Series in 1947". Archived from the original on 26 October 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Lewis, David L. (1976). The Public Image of Henry Ford: An American Folk Hero and His Company. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 466.
  5. ^ Stewart, B.W. (October 5, 1947). "BASEBALL ON VIDEO; Television, Despite Some Handicaps, Scores in World Series Coverage". New York Times. p. X11.
  6. ^ "Will Carry Series on 5 Networks". Schenectady Gazette. Associated Press. September 24, 1948. p. 21.
  7. ^ Wolters, Larry (September 24, 1948). "All Chains Get Offer on Series TV". Chicago Tribune. p. C4.
  8. ^ Buttefield, C.E. (September 19, 1949). "World Series Via Video Destined for 45 Stations". The St. Petersburg Independent. Associated Press. p. 8.
  9. ^ Drebinger, John (October 5, 1949). "Reynolds to Face Newcombe (Maybe) in Opener of Series Today". New York Times. p. 38.
  10. ^ "Mel Allen, Red Barber Named As Broadcasters". The Hartford Courant. October 5, 1949. p. 14.
  11. ^ "Radio and Television". New York Times. October 8, 1948.
  12. ^ Wolters, Larry (October 6, 1948). "CHICAGO TO SEE SERIES GAMES FROM CLEVELAND". Chicago Tribune. p. B3.
  13. ^ Saunders, Dusty (October 1, 2001). "TV BUFFET: BONDS, BOATS, BRONCOS". Rocky Mountain News.
  14. ^ Moore, Barbara; Bensman, Marvin R. (2006). Prime-time television: a concise history. Westport, Ct.: Praeger Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 9780275981426.
  15. ^ Lewis, John (22 November 2011). Radio Master: The Life and Times of Sports Broadcasting Great Ted Husing. ISBN 9781936183869.
  16. ^ Walker and Bellamy, James R. and Robert V. (June 2008). Center Field Shot: A History of Baseball on Television. ISBN 978-0803248250.
  17. ^ Shea, Stuart (7 May 2015). Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present. SABR, Inc. p. 356. ISBN 9781933599410.
  18. ^ Ames, Walter (June 13, 1953). "Major League Ball Game on KECA-TV; Topper Series Set as 'Irma' Replacement". Los Angeles Times. p. A5.
  19. ^ "Albany Club Owner Asks for Video Of Major League Games in His Area". Hartford Courant. Associated Press. June 6, 1953.
  20. ^ Ames, Walter (May 8, 1954). "L.A.-Las Vegas Relay Ready by Fall; Lamenting Berle Seeks New Home". Los Angeles Times. p. A5.
  21. ^ "TV Baseball Ban Denied By Official". The Daily Reporter. Associated Press. March 11, 1954. p. 1.
  22. ^ "Club Owners Veto Television of Spring Games". The Spokane-Review. Associated Press. March 14, 1954. p. 1.

External links[edit]