This day in baseball: Hitting the TV screen

History’s first televised baseball game was broadcast by NBC on 26 August 1939.  The Reds played the Dodgers at Ebbets Field and split a doubleheader, the Dodgers winning 6-2 in the first game, and the Reds taking the second game 5-1.  The telecast was shown on experimental station W2XBS.  Red Barber called the game for the television audience.

Only two camera angles were in place for the game: one down the third base line, and the other high over home plate in order to capture the entire field.  And cameras, not nearly as advanced as they are today, had difficulty capturing any fast-moving plays.  While baseball owners initially feared that television coverage would hurt game attendance, they quickly embraced the increased coverage and revenue that could be gained through the sale of broadcast rights and from advertising.

Today, televised sports is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Photo source: Early Television Museum