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.
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 and the All-Star Game in 1942. In 1949, Commissioner Happy Chandler 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
- Rex Barney (1956)
- Bud Blattner (1952; 1954)
- Dizzy Dean (1951–1952)
- Gene Elston (1958–1960)
- Bob Feller (1958)
- Bob Fulton (1954)
- Art Gleeson (1950–1958)
- Al Helfer (1950–1954)
- Gene Kirby (1950–1952)
- France Laux (1939–1941; 1944)
- John MacLean (1955–1960)
- Bob Neal (1955–1956)
- Mel Ott (1955)
- Van Patrick (1960)
- Hal Totten (1945–1950)
- Bob Wolff (1950–1951)
|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|
|1949||Mel Allen and Red Barber|
|1948||Mel Allen and Jim Britt|
|1947||Mel Allen 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|
|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.
- 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.
- "Albert Benjamin "Happy" Chandler: Second Commissioner of Baseball". MLB.com.
- "2006 Ford Frick Award nominees". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- Shea, Stuart (7 May 2015). Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present. SABR, Inc. p. 365. ISBN 9781933599410.
- "2 Networks Will Broadcast Game". The Boston Globe. October 4, 1948. p. 7. Retrieved October 4, 2020 – via newspapers.com.