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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lights, Cameras...Baseball!

This Day in History: August 26, 1939

Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds face of on August 26, 1939. (Credit: MLB Photos via Getty Images)
It has been 75 years since the first baseball game was watched not only from the bleachers but via television. While some 33,000 fans filled the seats or stood on the sidelines at Ebbets field, some 3,000 more were cheering their favorite team from the comfort of their own home. Television was still in its infancy with its first real attempts to bring the national pastime to the small screen having only arrived earlier that year. This occurred when the 1939 New York World's Fair opened with television as one of its major exhibits.
In order to convince skeptical visitors that the television sets were not a trick, one set was made with a transparent case so that the internal components could be seen. As part of the exhibit, visitors could see themselves on television. After this formal introduction of television sets, they became widely available for the public. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

A Bit of TV History...
Experimentation with television first started in the late 19th century with color TV being in development as early as 1897, but electronics were simply not advanced enough at that point to make the process work effectively. These earlier broadcasts were merely demonstrations still in the testing stages. Another 30 years passed before anything like a successful television broadcast system was put together with color TV coming to fruition in 1928. But even then, it wasn’t until 1935 that the regular black-and-white broadcasts were being sent out, and those only contained 108 lines per frame. This was the beginning of a massive boom in broadcasting, and by 1950 there were 6 million televisions in the United States alone.
Back to the game...

Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber interviews Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher, August 26, 1939. (Credit: Sporting News via Getty Images)
Dodgers broadcaster Red Barber interviews
Brooklyn manager Leo Durocher, August 26, 1939.
(Credit: Sporting News via Getty Images)
On this day, August 26, 1939, a doubleheader was pitched between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds. The location: Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. Lights, Cameras...Baseball! That's right, the action was baseball and the game, filmed with two cameras, was the first Major League Baseball game ever aired on television. 

Dodgers radio commentator Red Barber stepped in as baseball’s first ever television announcer, using his trademark homespun style to give context to the still-limited coverage. Barber wore headphones so he could hear the broadcast’s director, but he later claimed that he effectively did the commentary blind. “I had to guess which way the camera was pointing, and I never knew for sure what was on the picture,” he recalled in his biography. “There was no monitor—this was years before anyone ever dreamed of a monitor.” (Source: History in the Headlines)

Sidenote: The game was broadcast from New York City’s Empire State Building, completed just eight years earlier, and could be seen in homes up to 50 miles away.


Baseball Nostalgia
Photo from commons.wikimedia.org