If he’d never done anything except discover Honus Wagner, Ed Barrow would hold an important place in the National Pastime’s grand history. No, he wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame today—which of course he is—but still, an important place.
Barrow did so much more than discover Wagner, though. He’s in the Hall of Fame largely because he presided over a Yankees dynasty that won 14 American League pennants and 10 World Series in his 25 seasons as (de facto) general manager.
“Nothing Like Baseball to Take Your Mind Off Your Troubles”: On the Solace That Baseball Provided American Film Genius Buster Keaton
Buster Keaton rocketed to national fame in the 1920s in the heyday of silent film comedy. Except for Charlie Chaplin, there was no greater star in the comedic movie firmament.
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience!”
Long before Vin Scully, Walter Cronkite, or Ernie Pyle became household names, Graham McNamee was the most famous broadcaster in the world. In the earliest days of radio during the twentieth century, McNamee’s distinctive introduction was the cue for millions of Americans to gather around their household sets and listen to the most exciting events of the day.
Most of the stories in this series have been about, or will be about, some seriously archival stuff. Now, I don’t think managers in the olden days were better or smarter than our recent legends. And I certainly could have written about Joe Torre’s willingness to use Mariano Rivera for more than an inning in October, or about Terry Francona or Joe Maddon or (dare I say it?) Ned Yost.
When I got the green light to write this essay, I immediately began researching. Given his status, excellence, and tenure, I was surprised to find that a biography of Bill Dickey had never been written. Happily, I came across Pinstripe Empire, which contained important information about him, written by Marty Appel—a fine writer and TNPM colleague.
In 1932, when The Sporting News set out to honor the best baseball broadcasters for the first time, Ford C. Frick could have hardly imagined a day when every announcer would dream of winning an award bearing his name at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
It would, I think, be impossible today. Practically speaking.
Can you imagine an Opening Day center fielder in the Major Leagues, just a few weeks later, giving up outfielding forever and becoming instead a pitcher? And what’s more, before long a star pitcher?
Sadly, for fans of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game the 2016 version of the contest showed a dramatic decrease in interest when measured by the level of television viewership. Not only had the television audience dropped a full 29 percent from the 2015 game, but for the first time in 50 years that audience fell below 10 million to an all-time low of 8,707,000 viewers from a high of 36,330,000 in 1976.