First Televised Baseball Game – Dale’s Daily Data
This is the day that baseball’s TV era began. Up until then you could only listen on the radio or go to the game yourself. But in 1939, the first baseball game to be televised was broadcast from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn – a game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Red Barber did the play by play, but very few people were able to see the game because not very many people owned TV sets.
In all of New York City, only about 400 people owned TV sets back in 1939. There was no regular programming. Network broadcasting didn’t begin until 1946.
So to promote TV broadcasting as an alternate form of entertainment – it was featured at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. And the Reds-Dodgers double header was a perfect showcase even if the broadcast was pretty crude by today’s standards.
There were only two cameras to cover the game. It was hard to see the ball. The picture wasn’t very clear, but people were fascinated by it. And when baseball team owners figured out they could make money by selling the rights to the games they were convinced.
Today cameras are so advanced they can even show how the ball changes shape when it’s hit by a bat.