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Thread: Brownie Radio in the '40's

  1. #1

    Brownie Radio in the '40's

    Harry Caray did both the Browns and Cardinal games for a period of time but before he did, two announcers, France Laux and Johnny O'Hara did the games back in the 1940's. They did a creditable job in spite of France's nasally voice. The only problem was that when the Browns were out of town, they used to recreate the games from a ticker tape.This presented some hysterical situations due to the slow, sparse input they used. Once they gave the hitters average and the results of his previous at bats, there was nothing but dead air......no talking. A hit for the Brownies produced "canned" crowd noise and a "clunk" that indicated a batted ball. More ofter than not they would lose the ticker tape connection and have to improvise things. If, during the lost connection either team had a big inning, they had to do a catch up effort that crammed a whole lot of activity into a very short time. This was really funny because they tended to get game results out of sequence and they would say things like...'Kreevich hit a home run inning before last that gave the Brownies a lead for awhile' but now the Sox have loaded the bases and errrrrrrr...that does it for the bottom of the fifth' . Funny stuff.

  2. #2
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    The following article, "St. Louis Cardinals' Radio History" has a really complete list of the Cardinal broadcast teams from '26 to present. But there's nary a mention of the good ol Brownies:

    http://www.stlradio.com/articles-stlcards.htm

    We should do a list ourselves. Can anybody remember a (broadcast play-by-play) team and a year? Did the Brownie's borrow the Cardinals announcers? In what year did the Cardinals broadcasters start to go on the road? Portabob, what years exactly did the Caray-O'Hara team broadcast?

  3. #3

    Brownie Radio Broadcasters

    Besides France Laux and Johnny O'Hara and Harry the only ones I can remember are Buddy Blatner and Dizzy Dean. Buddy left and went with the networks Game of the Week broadcast. By the way, Buddy couldn't stand working with Dizzy. Buddy was very thorough with stats and technical info but Dizzy was always trying to upstage him with wacky stuff like mispronunciations of players names etc. ....eg "Gutt Ridge" for Don Gutteridge. Buddy's book exposed his real feelings about Diz. AS far as the years the guys worked the games, I can't remember. At this point, my memory of the '40's and 50's is a blur.
    Last edited by portobob; 09-22-2006 at 02:28 PM.

  4. #4
    1953 - Bill Durney (KMOX), Buddey Blattner (KXOK)
    1952 - Blattner, Dizzy Dean (WIL)
    1951 - Blattner, Howard Williams (KWK)
    1950 - Bill Snyder, Les Carmichael (WEW/KWK)
    1949 - John O'Hara, Tom Dailey (WEW/KWK)
    1948 - France Laux (WIL)
    1947 - O'Hara, Dean (WIL)
    1946 - O'Hara, Dean (WIL) // Harry Caray, Gabby Street (WTMV/WEW)
    1945 - O'Hara, Laux (WEW/WTMV) // Caray, Street (WIL)
    1944 - O'Hara, Dean (WEW/WTMV)
    1943 - O'Hara, Dean (KWK) // Laux, Ron Rawson (KXOK)
    1942 - O'Hara, Dean
    1941 - Dizzy Dean
    1940 - Laux (KMOX) // O'Hara, Johnny Neblett (KWK) // Gabby Street, Alex Buchan (KXOK)

    1939 - France Laux, Cy Casper (KMOX) // O'Hara, Jim Bottomley (KWK)
    1938 - France Laux, Jim Alt (KMOX) // O'Hara, Allan Anthony (KWK)
    1937 - Laux, Alt (KMOX) // O'Hara, Anthony, Ray Schmidt (KWK)
    1936 - Laux (KMOX) // O'Hara, Schmidt (KWK)
    1935 - Laux (KMOX) // Bob Thomas (KWK) // Neil Norman (WIL)
    1934 - Laux (KMOX) // Bob Thomas, Ray Schmidt (KWK)
    1933 - Laux
    1932 - Laux
    1931 - Laux
    1930 - Laux
    1929 - Laux
    1928 -
    1927 - Garnett Marks (KMOX)

    This is what I have from my records scraped together from The Sporting News and other broadcasting/advertising periodicals.

    Of course, as you may know, the Browns broadcasts of later years went out over a broadcasting network considerably smaller than the Cardinals. This was no small part of the disparity between the two teams when Bill Veeck was in town.

    One of the more amusing tibits from the era revolved around the Anheuser-Busch purchase of the Cardinals and the infamous (aborted) decision to change the name Sportsman's Park to Budweiser Stadium. As the Browns were sponsored by rival Falstaff, some critics noted, it was hardly fair that Browns fans would tune in to an introduction along the lines of "broadcasting from Budweiser Stadium, Falstaff brings you..."

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    Interesting. So the Cards and Browns had the same broadcast team (with the exception of third Cards' broadcaster Ray Schmidt for one year) through the end of the '46 season?

    Must have been tougher for broadcasters in those days to have to know thoroughly both Leagues. Also, to the extent that the broadcasters in those days practiced a "homer" broadcasting style, I wonder which team they rooted for in '44?

    It's also interesting that unless there was a misprint on the St. Louis Radio History site, there was no Cards broadcast at all in '53 but there was a Browns! Maybe that had something to do with the changeover in Cards' team ownership.

  6. #6
    In 1953 Caray and Mancuso were doing the Cardinals games for WIL, sponsored through the season by Greisedieck Bros. as usual - despite the purchase of the team prior to the season by Anheuser-Busch*. In 1954 the sponsorship contract ended with GB and Busch could begin to advertise his own product over the team's airwaves.

    *In the hubbub over the brewery's purchase of a baseball team, and how that team could then be used to vault them over other industry competition, A-B supporters pointed at 1953 saying in effect: "How could we use the team to get ahead when a rival was sponsoring the broadcasts for our first season..."

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    VERY interesting bit of history. Many thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by BaseballHistorian
    .

    *In the hubbub over the brewery's purchase of a baseball team, and how that team could then be used to vault them over other industry competition, A-B supporters pointed at 1953 saying in effect: "How could we use the team to get ahead when a rival was sponsoring the broadcasts for our first season..."

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    Harry Caray and the Browns

    Quote Originally Posted by portobob
    Harry Caray did both the Browns and Cardinal games for a period of time (snip)
    If this is true, shouldnt his tenure as Browns announcer be mentioned in his Hall of Fame bio?:
    http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/ho...aray_harry.htm
    Let's start a boomlet!@

  9. #9
    Real good article here about Dizzy Dean's announcing days: http://curtsmith.mlblogs.com/archive...dean_easi.html

    BTW, as one of the few here old enough to remember both the Dizzy Dean/Buddy Blattner Game of the Week and then the Dizzy Dean/Pee Wee Reese Game of the Week I MUCH preferred Dean & Reese. After Blattner got the axe he was extremely bitter and blasted Dean every chance he got. Blattner's extreme bitterness sullied his reputation and was seen as sour grapes. Blattner's is FOS with this statement in this article: "In Pee Wee [Reese] they got a better player, but lesser announcer [than himself]," Blattner said. I'd LOVE to have the tapes of the games Diz and Pee Wee did starting in 1959. Those are still my favorite TV baseball broadcasts ever, and those two are still my favorite TV broadcasting duo of all time. Those two really had fun and made the game incredibly fun and interesting. There would be an old third base or first base coach standing out there and either Diz or Pee Wee would say "Let me tell you a story about that guy." And it was always great. Each weekend it was a happening.
    28 year SABR member.

  10. #10
    Smith told more of the Blattner story in Voices of the Game (he may have told it in America's Dizzy Dean--I am not sure). In 1959, Dean and Blattner were to work the Dodgers-Braves playoff, but a cigarette company was a sponsor and Dean had been criticizing tobacco on the air for years. So, the sponsor said Dean couldn't do it. Dean said that if anyone from the game of the week broadcast was on the air for the playoffs, he wouldn't come back the next season. Blattner didn't see that as his problem, but the sponsors decided they wouldn't buck Dean and told Blattner not to broadcast. Blattner then resigned, telling Smith that if he had stayed, he and Dean would have had tension because the whole incident would have loomed over them.

    Ted Patterson's book and CD includes an excerpt from Dean making a guest appearance on a Royals broadcast with Blattner three months before Dean's death in 1974. They clearly were cordial on the air.

    I'm really glad to see the announcer thread. I'll add this:

    1. Howie Williams probably broadcast for them in 1952 and 1953 as well as 1951. Patterson has an ad from 1952 showing him as a Browns announcer and he ended up going to Baltimore with them for the first year in 1954, so it seems likely that he was there for the whole Veeck era.

    2. Milo Hamilton worked with Blattner on TV in 1953. It was his first big job at age 26. Hamilton said something like, "I wasn't ready for the big leagues. But neither were the Browns."

    3. Lindsey Nelson was offered a job with the Browns around 1951, but the pay was so low he couldn't have taken it if he wanted to.

  11. #11
    Dizzy Dean was a Browns Announcer in 1947 - I remember he spent a lot of time criticizing the Pitching Staff, and the Hitters. Both were justified, His pitching speaks forittself, but don't forget his Career Batting average (Google it) This was the year the Browns finally signed him to start the last game of the season. We all listened and were not disappointed, except tha he injured himself running the bases. One thing I haven't seen in the descriptions (often wrong - one site has him pitching opening day) was his attempt to use a bat decorated with red stripes. After a bit of discussion with the umpire, he was sent back to the dugout to get another bat. I can't remember whether the manager got involved with Dizzy and the Ump or not. So Dizzy goes back to the dugout and emerges with a Bleck Striped bat. Same objection and discussion. Finally Dizzy retrieves an acceptable bat and singles. In rounding first he injured his leg, so that was the end of his playing career.
    It may not be as significant as Ted Williams or Babe Ruth homering in the last at bat, but Browns fans were treated to the most amusing final appearance of a famous player.
    Also check out this link to hear Dizzy in person.

    Cheers
    Warren
    http://www.otrcat.com/otr6/dizzy_dea...trcat.com_.mp3
    Last edited by whturner; 03-26-2010 at 12:19 PM. Reason: typos - I ball ball better than I type

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by whturner View Post
    Dizzy Dean was a Browns Announcer in 1947 - I remember he spent a lot of time criticizing the Pitching Staff, and the Hitters. Both were justified, His pitching speaks forittself, but don't forget his Career Batting average (Google it) This was the year the Browns finally signed him to start the last game of the season. We all listened and were not disappointed, except tha he injured himself running the bases. One thing I haven't seen in the descriptions (often wrong - one site has him pitching opening day) was his attempt to use a bat decorated with red stripes. After a bit of discussion with the umpire, he was sent back to the dugout to get another bat. I can't remember whether the manager got involved with Dizzy and the Ump or not. So Dizzy goes back to the dugout and emerges with a Bleck Striped bat. Same objection and discussion. Finally Dizzy retrieves an acceptable bat and singles. In rounding first he injured his leg, so that was the end of his playing career.
    It may not be as significant as Ted Williams or Babe Ruth homering in the last at bat, but Browns fans were treated to the most amusing final appearance of a famous player.
    Also check out this link to hear Dizzy in person.

    Cheers
    Warren
    http://www.otrcat.com/otr6/dizzy_dea...trcat.com_.mp3
    As far as Dizzy's hitting goes, he wasn't good at all. Lifetime .225 with 9 walks with 104 punchouts. Fans talk about Koufax' short career, but Dizzy only had 5 outstanding summers.
    Last edited by penncentralpete; 03-26-2010 at 01:06 PM.
    you can take the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, but you can't take the Brooklyn out of the DODGERS
    http://brooklyndodgermemories.freeforums.org/

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by penncentralpete View Post
    As far as Dizzy's hitting goes, he wasn't good at all. Lifetime .225 with 9 walks with 104 punchouts. Fans talk about Koufax' short career, but Dizzy only had 5 outstanding summers.
    That is pretty good for a pitcher. And when you are a pitcher you don't get many walks. I just saw that the average for Nat League Pitchers in 2008 was .140. Also remember there were 2 Regulars who had an average lower than .225 - Les Moss (.157) and Al Zarilla (,224).
    And I am still amused!

    Cheers
    Warren

    http://askville.amazon.com/combined-...estId=49644798

  14. #14

    Brownie Radio

    Does anyone know of any tapes or dvds containing any clips or full games of Browns' games? The oldest Cardinal game I have seen dates back to 1934 from the World Series, national broadcast, with the oldest Cardinal regular season game from June of 1962.

  15. #15

    1953 browns radio broadcast

    There is a Browns-White Sox game from 1953 that is available through Charlie Danrick. It is a partial broadcast. It was a Mutual Game of the day broadcast. Too bad more of those old Murual Game of the Day broadcasts aren't readily available. From what I understand Mutual preserved them all and donated them to the Library of Congress years ago.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by stan opdyke View Post
    There is a Browns-White Sox game from 1953 that is available through Charlie Danrick. It is a partial broadcast. It was a Mutual Game of the day broadcast. Too bad more of those old Murual Game of the Day broadcasts aren't readily available. From what I understand Mutual preserved them all and donated them to the Library of Congress years ago.
    Thanks! Nabbed one, and was able to provide a second copy to a relative of Roy Sievers, who played in the game!

  17. #17

    Browns On he Radio

    I have about 120 minutes of excerpts of a 7/1/53 Browns(Littlefield) at Chisox (Rogovin) game. It's called on Mutual by Al Helfer and Art Gleeson. Does anyone in this group have anything to trade for it? Either a full or partial Browns' game?

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    now that Milo Hamilton is confirmed as a speaker at the St. Louis Browns reunion luncheon in June, we would like to gather as much data on what Milo actually did during 1953 as we can. am I understanding that he was just the TV announcer, correctly?thanks for any info

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