The man who broadcast Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Dodgers recalled that, as a boy in Sanford, Florida, “I saw black men tarred and feathered by the Ku Klux Klan and forced to walk the streets. I had grown up in a completely segregated world.” Red Barber confessed that when he learned the Dodgers would field a black player, his first reaction was to quit his job. Read more: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/red-barber/
Notable Events and Chronology for Red Barber Career
The five-year ban on broadcasting games played by the New York major league teams ends when Red Barber, hired away from the Reds by Larry McPhail, calls Brooklyn’s 7-3 loss to the Giants at Ebbets Field. In 1934, the two National League teams and the Yankees agreed not to air their games on the radio, fearing the exposure would reduce the number of fans attending games.
Ernie Harwell, filling in for Red Barber, who is recovering from a bleeding ulcer, calls his first major league game as the Dodgers beat the Cubs at Ebbets Field, 5-4. To obtain the future Hall of Fame broadcaster, Brooklyn general manager Branch Rickey trades minor league catcher Cliff Daper to the Atlanta Crackers.
With only 413 patrons in attendance to see New York’s 4-1 loss to the White Sox, the team’s head of media relations denies Red Barber’s request for a camera to scan the empty stands. The veteran broadcaster will reportedly lose his job when he continues to tell his audience, “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game.”