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Major League Baseball made TV debut 70 years ago today
Good morning, WatchDog Nation.
Did you know that 70 years ago today - less than a week before the start of World War II - New York's W2XBS (later WNBC) offered the first ever televised Major League Baseball game?
Red Barber called the first game of a doubleheader at Ebbets Field in which the Reds beat the Dodgers, 5-2, in a cool one hour, 46 minutes - roughly what it takes for the Yankees and Red Sox to play three innings in modern times.
(The station also showed the nightcap, with the Dodgers coming back for a 6-1 victory over the eventual NL champs.)
Several hundred early TV adopters could have watched from up to 50 miles away, with special showings at the World's Fair in Queens and in the Ebbets press room.
There were significant improvements over the first televised game that May between Princeton and Columbia, including two cameras instead of one. The second was located high behind home plate. The "high home" shot remains a staple of TV baseball to this day.
The New York Times wrote that the game was played "before two prying electrical 'eyes'" and noted, "At times it was possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of the ball as it sped from the pitcher's hand toward home plate."