Famous Sports Radio Broadcasts – Maintain the Thrills Alive
They’re the voices in the evening, the play-by-play announcers, whose calls have spouted from radio speakers since August 5, 1921 when Harold Arlin named the very first baseball game over Pittsburgh’s KDKA. That fall, Arlin made the premier college football broadcast. Thereafter, stereo microphones found the way of theirs into arenas along with stadiums worldwide.
The first three decades of radio sportscasting provided many memorable broadcasts.
The 1936 Berlin Olympics were capped by the beautiful performances of Jesse Owens, an African American who won 4 gold medals, nevertheless, Adolph Hitler refused to position them on the neck of his. The games had been broadcast in twenty eight different languages, the first sporting events to achieve global radio coverage.
Many famous sports radio broadcasts followed.
On the sultry night of June 22, 1938, NBC radio listeners joined 70,043 boxing fans at Yankee Stadium for a heavyweight battle between champion Joe Louis and Germany’s Max Schmeling. After only 124 seconds listeners were blown away to pick up NBC commentator Ben Grauer growl “And Schmeling is down…and here is the count…” as “The Brown Bomber” scored a stunning knockout.
In 1939, New York Yankees captain Lou Gehrig developed the famous farewell speech of his at Yankee Stadium. Baseball’s “iron man”, who earlier had ended the record of his 2,130 consecutive games played streak, was diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative disorder. That Fourth of July broadcast included the well known line of his, “…today, I consider myself the luckiest male on the experience of the earth”.
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The 1947 World Series provided among the most famous sports radio broadcasts of all time. In game six, with the Brooklyn Dodgers top the New York Yankees, the Dodgers inserted Al Gionfriddo in center field. With two males on base Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio, representing the tying run, came to bat. In essentially the most noteworthy calls of all time, broadcaster Red Barber described what happened next:
“Here’s the pitch. Swung on, belted…it’s a long a person to deep left center. Back goes Gionfriddo…back, back, back, back, back, back…and…HE MAKES A ONE HANDED CATCH AGAINST THE BULLPEN! Oh, doctor!”
Barber’s “Oh, doctor!” evolved into a catchphrase, as did many others coined by announcers. Some of the most prominent sports radio broadcasts are remembered because of those phrases. Cardinals and Cubs voice Harry Caray’s “It could be, it could be, it is…a home run” is a basic. So are pioneer hockey broadcaster Foster Hewitt’s “He shoots! He scores!”, Boston Bruins voice Johnny Best’s “He diddles…” and also fiddles, Marv Albert’s “Yes!”
Some announcers happen to be extremely skilled with vocabulary that specific phrases have been unnecessary. On April 8, 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers voice Vin Scully watched as Atlanta’s Henry Aaron hit home run number 715, a new record. Scully simply stated, “Fast ball, there’s a high fly to deep left center field…Buckner goes directlyto the fence…it is…gone!”, then got up to get a drink of water as the crowd and fireworks thundered.
Announcers hardly ever color the broadcasts of theirs with creative phrases today and sports video has become pervasive. Still, radio’s voices in the evening follow the trails paved by memorable sports broadcasters of the past.