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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Throwback Broadcasts

Baseball fans were supposed to be enjoying the 2020 MLB season by now. Home openers for teams including the Cleveland Indians had been scheduled for last week before COVID-19 put all sports on hold.


MLB Network and Sports Time Ohio have been showing classic games and baseball-themed programs to fill the airwaves and give fans their fix. Depending on your age, you might have seen some of the games when they were originally broadcast. But younger fans could be seeing them for the first time.


If you’re stuck at home — and if you’re practicing social distancing you should be home a lot — you can listen to games from wayyyyy back while you tackle all those items on your to-do list that you haven’t had time for.


The Internet Archive has put radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball games online and you can listen to them for free. The available broadcasts all aired before 1974. Broadcasts from games played after that are not yet in the public domain.


The oldest broadcast is the 1934 All-Star Game, played at New York's Polo Grounds. No spoilers here, but among the players in that game were Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx and Carl Hubbell, all Hall of Famers.


The most recent broadcast is Game 7 of the 1973 World Series between the Oakland A’s and New York Mets. This series closed out Willie Mays’ career. 


In between are other World Series, League Championship and All-Star games, the first-ever Mets game broadcast from 1962, the 1951 New York Giants-Brooklyn Dodgers playoff game featuring “The Shot Heard ’Round the World” and the 1948 World Series, the last one our Indians won.


We don’t know when the 2020 baseball season will begin, but it’s safe to assume it won’t be in April. These radio broadcasts, which many (or most) of us have never heard before, could help fill the void. 

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