On August 26, 1939 — At Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, NBC televises the first major league game in history on experimental station W2XBS, covering a doubleheader split in which the Reds win the first game, 5-2, and the Dodgers take the nightcap, 6-1. The network employs two cameras, one behind home plate, showing a wide view of the field, and the other on the third base line to capture the plays at first base. Legendary announcer Red Barber broadcasts the game
Between the two games, a ceremony is held to honor Alexander Cartwright with a Hawaiian-themed celebration to mark the centennial anniversary of baseball.
Regular programming did not yet exist, and very few people owned television sets–there were only about 400 in the New York area. Not until 1946 did regular network broadcasting catch on in the United States, and only in the mid-1950s did television sets become more common in the American household. Just 3,000 people were able to enjoy the Reds-Dodgers game in 1939 from their homes, while last year’s World Series attracted 14 million viewers.
As for the games, in the night cap Hugh Casey pitched a gem in game 1 for the Dodgers allowing just 8 hits over 9 innings, and 1 unearned run. the Dodgers were up 6-0 after 3 and cruised to the 6-1 victory. More fans were in attendance than owned TV’s as 33,000+ were at Ebbets Field.
During the first game, Babe Phelps commits 2 errors in the 8th inning allowing 4 unearned runs to cross in the 8th inning of the Reds 5-2 win over the Dodgers. Bucky Walters got the win for the Red’s and went the distance, as Luke Hamlin was the hard knocks loser for the Dodgers.
The total time of the two games combined – 3 hours and seventeen minutes.
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