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Major League Baseball on Mutual

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Major League Baseball on Mutual was the de facto title of the Mutual Broadcasting System's (MBS) national radio coverage of Major League Baseball games. Mutual's coverage came about during the Golden Age of Radio in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. During this period, television sports broadcasting was in its infancy, and radio was still the main form of broadcasting baseball. For many years, Mutual was the national radio broadcaster for baseball's All-Star Game and World Series.

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History of coverage

Mutual started its baseball coverage in 1935, when the network joined NBC and CBS in national radio coverage. The three networks continued to share coverage of baseball's "jewels" (the All-Star Game and World Series) in this manner through 1938, with Mutual gaining exclusive rights to the World Series in 1939[1] and the All-Star Game in 1942. In 1949, Commissioner Happy Chandler[2] negotiated a seven-year, US$4,370,000 contract with the Gillette Safety Razor Company and the Mutual Broadcasting System for radio rights to the World Series, with the proceeds going directly into the pension fund. In 1957, NBC replaced Mutual as the exclusive national radio broadcaster for the World Series and All-Star Game.

Following the lead of the rival Liberty Broadcasting System, Mutual also aired regular-season Game of the Day broadcasts (a precursor to television's Game of the Week concept) to non-major-league cities throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

Attempts at television coverage

In 1950, Mutual acquired the television broadcast rights to the World Series and All-Star Game for the next six years. The network may have been re-indulging in TV network dreams or simply taking advantage of a long-standing business relationship; in either case, the broadcast rights were sold to NBC in time for the following season's games at an enormous profit.


Game of the Day

World Series


Year Play-by-play Pregame host
1956 Bob Wolff and Bob Neal Bill Corum
1955 Al Helfer and Bob Neal Frankie Frisch
1954 Al Helfer and Jimmy Dudley Frankie Frisch
1953 Al Helfer and Gene Kelly Bill Corum
1952 Al Helfer and Jack Brickhouse Bill Corum
1951 Mel Allen and Al Helfer
1950 Mel Allen and Gene Kelly Al Helfer


Year Play-by-play Pregame host
1949 Mel Allen and Red Barber
1948 Mel Allen and Jim Britt
1947 Mel Allen[7] and Red Barber
1946 Jim Britt and Arch McDonald Bill Corum
1945 Bill Slater and Al Helfer Bill Corum
1944 Bill Slater and Don Dunphy Bill Corum
1943 Red Barber and Bob Elson Bill Corum
1942 Red Barber and Mel Allen Bill Corum
1941 Red Barber and Bob Elson Bill Corum
1940 Red Barber and Bob Elson Mel Allen

† Mutual also nationally broadcast the 1948 American League tie-breaker game.[8] It did not air in Cleveland[9] due to Indians owner Bill Veeck refusing to grant permission to Mutual affiliate WHK[10]: 168  after MLB commissioner Happy Chandler selected Mel Allen for the Series coverage instead of either Cleveland announcer.[11] Indians flagship WJW originated coverage of their own for the tie-breaker game.[12]


Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s)
1939 Red Barber and Bob Elson
1938 Bob Elson Quin Ryan, David Driscoll and Stan Lomax
1937 Bob Elson and Johnny O'Hara David Driscoll
1936 Bob Elson Gabriel Heatter and Tony Wakeman
1935 Bob Elson and Red Barber Quin Ryan

All-Star Game


Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Venue/Host team
1956 Bob Neal Bob Wolff Griffith Stadium, Washington Senators
1955 Bob Neal Earl Gillespie County Stadium, Milwaukee Braves
1954 Jim Dudley Al Helfer Municipal Stadium, Cleveland Indians
1953 Al Helfer Waite Hoyt Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds
1952 Al Helfer Gene Kelly Shibe Park, Philadelphia Phillies
1951 Al Helfer Mel Allen Briggs Stadium, Detroit Tigers
1950 Mel Allen Jim Britt Comiskey Park, Chicago White Sox


Year Play-by-play Color commentator(s) Venue/Host team
1949 Mel Allen Jim Britt Ebbets Field, Brooklyn Dodgers
1948 Mel Allen Jim Britt and France Laux Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Browns
1947 Mel Allen Jim Britt Wrigley Field, Chicago Cubs
1946 Mel Allen Jim Britt and Bill Corum Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox
1945 Not held because of World War II
1944 Don Dunphy Bill Slater and Bill Corum Forbes Field, Pittsburgh Pirates
1943 Mel Allen Red Barber and Bill Corum Shibe Park, Philadelphia Athletics
1942 Mel Allen Jim Britt and Bob Elson Polo Grounds, New York Giants
1941 Red Barber Bob Elson Briggs Stadium, Detroit Tigers
1940 Red Barber Bob Elson Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Cardinals

Two nights following the 1942 All-Star Game, the American League All-Stars traveled to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, to play a special benefit game against a team of players from the U.S. Army and Navy. The contest, which the American Leaguers won 5–0, attracted a crowd of 62,094 and netted $70,000 for the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the Navy Relief Society. Mutual Radio broadcast the second game, with Bob Elson, Waite Hoyt, and Jack Graney announcing.


Year Play-by-play Color Commentator(s) Venue/Host team
1939 Red Barber Bob Elson Yankee Stadium, New York Yankees
1938 Bob Elson Dick Bray Crosley Field, Cincinnati Reds
1937 Mel Allen Jim Britt Griffith Stadium, Washington Senators
1936 Fred Hoey Linus Travers National League Park, Boston Bees
1935 Bob Elson Eddie Vander Pyl Municipal Stadium, Cleveland Indians


  1. ^ Walker and Hughes, James R. and Pat (1 May 2015). Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio. U of Nebraska Press. p. 109. Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio.
  2. ^ "Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler: Second Commissioner of Baseball".
  3. ^ a b c d e "2006 Ford Frick Award nominees". Retrieved 2010-07-30.
  4. ^ "Radio Review". The Telegraph-Herald. October 3, 1944. Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  5. ^ a b "WNDB To Air Major League Ball Games". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. April 9, 1959. Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  6. ^ Ward, Arch (March 1, 1952). "Champs Seek 11th Victory in Title Drive". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 January 2024.
  7. ^ Shea, Stuart (7 May 2015). Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present. SABR, Inc. p. 365. ISBN 9781933599410.
  8. ^ "2 Networks Will Broadcast Game". The Boston Globe. October 4, 1948. p. 7. Retrieved October 4, 2020 – via
  9. ^ Fullerton, Jr., Hugh (October 6, 1948). "Sports Roundup". The Daily Record. Long Branch, New Jersey. Associated Press. pp. 8, 11. Retrieved October 3, 2021 – via
  10. ^ Veeck, Bill; Linn, Ed (2001) [1962]. Veeck As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226027-21-0.
  11. ^ Steinhauser, Si (October 1, 1948). "Chandler Names Announcers for World Series: Britt and Allen Get the Nod". The Pittsburgh Press. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. p. 47. Retrieved October 3, 2021 – via
  12. ^ Nichols, Kenneth (October 5, 1948). "They Did It! 'War Of Nerves' Finally Ends For Akron Fans". Akron Beacon Journal. Akron, Ohio: Knight Newspapers. pp. 1–2. Retrieved October 3, 2021 – via In the schools, the voices of Jimmy Dudley and Jack Graney could be heard coming from rooms where teachers were supposed to be expounding an arithmetic or grammar. Many teachers brought portable radios to class.
This page was last edited on 28 January 2024, at 21:43
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