There may not be another time in history where baseball has been looked forward to more than this year. When something terrible happens, many of us turn to sports to provide some level of comfort, some normalcy. I think back to the first game in New York after 9/11 and what that meant to so many. We continue to watch sports because there is no guarantee on the outcome of the game. The championship team can lose to the team with the worst record. Upsets are the drama that keep us on the edge of our seats.
During WWII, baseball was important enough that it continued with the league creating a new professional league with women while the men were away at war. This time, with COVID in 2020, we were left without any sports – no real seasons, no spring training, no baseball, no basketball playoffs, no Olympics, not even kids sports. Major League Baseball managed a modified season from July 23rd – September 27th. It is weird watching games on TV with empty stands or print outs of fan pictures and crowd noises being fed in through the audio system. For many whose lives revolve around sports seasons, especially baseball and the tradition, 2020 was like no other.
We know we have a lot of “true fans” out there. The folks who are passionate, diehard fans. Win or lose. Rain or shine. No matter what. Those of you that have a story about why you love the game, whether it was backyard ball with your dad or child, or that first game you got to watch with your favorite player at your favorite stadium, or the time you played in your first real game, or just memories of pick-up ball with your neighborhood friends. So many of you have shared your first time listening to a game on the radio. Your favorite radio announcer who could call the game like no other. You have told us there is just nothing like listening to baseball on the radio. Radio will be right there alongside you on opening day. Your favorite announcers calling the play by play, giving you the backstories that you cannot hear unless you are listening to the radio. Storytelling in action.
Seeing things opening, and with Spring training under way and opening day on the very near horizon, it’s a new beginning. We know the real heroes during all this are the front-line workers – nurses, doctors, first responders, and all those deemed essential from grocery stores to gas stations. It seems absurd in some ways that sports can give us this hope, the feeling of normalcy that nothing else does. The simple, pure enjoyment. But it isn’t really absurd – it’s community. You are a part of something bigger. You are connected and if we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that connection is priceless.
Enter to Win! Please tell us in the comments “Your Favorite Baseball Story” and be entered to win a CC Pocket Radio. Drawing to be held 4/8/2021. Please, one entry per person.*
*Participants and winner(s) must be U.S. residents. Drawing will be selected at random from all eligible entries received.
Update: Congratulations to James Reyome on your winning entry for the CC Pocket Radio. Thank you all for your participation. We had many good entries and really enjoyed reading each comment!
My favorite all time baseball story was watch Hank Arron blast past Babe Ruths record. I always thought a lot of Hank. He was an humble man from humble beginnings. I’d rank it up there with the moon landings in mu opinion. God Bless Hank Aaron and RIP
I remember that moment too. Laying on the floor, a foot away from the console TV screen. Great story Alan
My favorite baseball story actually involves one of your radios! In the spring of 2010 I decided I needed a new sports experience so I decided to dedicate myself to being a San Francisco Giants fan full time. Until then, I could have only been described as “casual” at best. I didn’t even know why Pablo Sandoval was called the “Kung Fu Panda” or who Tim Lincecum was. So I bought a CC EP Classic and started listening to every game starting with those that were broadcast in spring training. I was determined NOT to miss a single game. And I didn’t — sometimes taking my radio to school (I am a teacher at Corning HIgh School) and checking in until the bell rang and I could turn it up. I had no idea that season was going to be PURE MAGIC and that the Giants would win their first World Series ever in SF! During that summer Jon, Dave, Kruk and Kuip became my best friends because of that radio and gave me the most thrilling sports experience of my life. That radio made it through all three championships: 2010, 2012 and 2014 before I finally abused it to death. But that first season — my radio and it’s “Secret Weapon Spot” in my backyard were UNBEATEABLE!!!!
My grandfather was a die-hard Cubs fan, the rest of his family were White Sox fans. Gramps used to watch the games on WGN-TV (he had a tower and antenna, no cable at the time) and have the sound off and listen to the game on WGN-720 AM radio at the same time. He didn’t like Jack Brickhouse for some reason. Whenever we were there he didn’t pay us any attention if the Cubs were on. He never saw the Cubs win the World Series. Fortunately, his grandkids, who became Cubs fans because of him, did get to see the miracle happen in 2016!
Meeting jack buck & vin scully on the same day at Busch stadium in st louis. I work for a cardinals radio affiliate and I was at a cards dodgers game. I didn’t have press box clearance but I was allowed on the broadcast level. I was waiting for jack buck didn’t think about the dodger announce team. So out walks vin scully I didn’t have anything for him to sign so I turned over my jack buck trading card and after a brief hesitation and nice conversation a bout Mr buck he signed my card and got on the elevator to go to the dodgers bus. After meeting jack buck a few minutes later I went down to rejoin my family. My boys were asking players for autographs and who comes out but vin scully he addressed my by name and all the people around were impressed that I knew vin scully really made my day. My love for baseball on the radio is still strong the best way to enjoy baseball true storytellers.
Never met Mr. Scully, but he is the ultimate baseball broadcaster who ever called the game ! For 20 + years, he would call the NL West games against my dbacks on the affiliate station. Great story you shared Donald. Thanks for sharing.
I grew up going to Cincinnati Reds games.
The first game I saw was at Crosley Field. This was the only game I saw there and I was a pretty small guy. I remember the rumble of the stands when people were up and stomping their feet. It sounded like the second level was going to come crashing down!
Since then, I saw some thrilling game with the Big Red Machine at Riverfront, and then some at the Great American Ballpark.
I live in North Carolina now and we’re blessed to have the Durham Bulls, and I live exactly one walking mile from our Central Plains League team plays.
I tell my wife that watching baseball is kind of like fishing. You can sit back and relax, and just wait for the big plays!
Thanks for your blog.
Holly Springs, NC
Listen to baseball on neighbor’s porch radio.
My Baseball story is deep in nostalgia of summer nights in the seventies scrolling up and down the radio dial, the magic of my heroes coming alive in my room from those faraway places. Amazing what radio, and baseball can be, after all the years, still feel the goosebumps.
Well ……. in 1961 when I was in 6th grade living in Naples, NY I remember running home after school to turn on the television to see whether Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris had hit the home run. A very good season for a young kid. I later ran into the Mick in Philadelphia Pennsylvania in 1987 when he was here for his book. I love baseball. A lot has changed over the years though.
The only baseball game that I have ever attended was A Reds vs Dodgers game at The Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. I took my oldest son and had a great time. The game went into double overtime. Its a good thing that stuff is starting to open. Thank you.
When my sons played little league we had fund raisers and took all the teams to a Pittsburgh Pirate game. On this occasion the Pirates were recognizing little league teams leading up to the National Anthem. Our teams from the Warren Township Baseball Association were announced to the crowd as they stood on the first base line. After the game they were allowed to go down on the field and run the bases. A lot of fun and a big day for the youngsters!
On September 11, 1985, while growing up in northeast Ohio, I tuned in to WLW from Cincinnati to hear, as best as I could from about 200 miles away, the play by play as Pete Rose was about to overtake Ty Cobb as the all time hits leader. It felt truly amazing to be a part of hearing history as it happened and as it was called by the great Joe Nuxhall and Marty Brennaman. Thank you radio!
Fond old memories of heading to grade school with a little transistor radio and earpiece tucked into my briefcase to be carefully pulled out for World Series afternoon games.
During the 1968 World Series between St. Louis and Detroit Pee Wee Reese and Ernie Harwell shared the radio announcing. Both were the regular radio announcers for the teams respectively. St. Lois was a powerhouse that sported hall of famers like Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. All during the series Reese intimated how lucky the Tigers were to be on the same field as the Cardinals. Finally in game 7 Lolich out dueled Gibson and the Tigers won the series. Ernie Harwell, during the series was always classy and commented favorably on all the players on both teams but you could tell Pee Wee was getting on his nerves. At the end of the as the Tigers won he said to Pee Wee, “ I’ll see you around Pee Wee, I have to go to THE WINNING TEAM’S LOCKER ROOM.” 53 years later I can still hear Harwell’s voice from that moment.
My favorite baseball story is somewhat personal. For my father-in-law’s 95th birthday we took him in his wheelchair to watch our minor league team, the Lexington Legends. He enjoyed it thoroughly, but due to his stamina had to leave mid-game. As we were leaving, they announced his birthday over the PA system. At that very moment the Legends hit a home run so that the crowd broke into a loud cheer right after the announcement of his birthday. He was so thrilled that on the way home in the car he asked me to tune in the game on the radio. Smiling, he said, “They might announce my birthday again.”
What a great memory Jayson.
i obtained a big green 10 Transistor portable GE radio in the early 70’s and killed hundreds of 9 volt batteries listening to the Big Red Machine plow through the National League. I started out listening to Al Michaels and Joe Nuxhall on WLW, which sounded loud and clear in Columbus. Later Michaels was replaced by Marty Brennaman, who is my all time favorite announcer. To this day I will take my pocket radio to a game or turn down the TV audio to listen to the radio broadcast at home. With the proper announcers, radio is a nearly flawless medium for enjoying live baseball.
Ditto Larry. Well said sir.
In the summer of 1987 my dad and I went to a Tacoma Tigers game. At the time, Tacoma was the AAA affiliate of the Oakland A’s. They played a double-header on a Saturday night against the Calgary Cannons (Seattle Mariners affiliate with Edgar Martinez playing for them). The double-header set a record for the most walks in a AAA double-header. As a result, the second game continued on until almost 2:00am. I didn’t want to leave because I was keeping score. Near the very end, my dad and I were sitting in the bleachers down the right-field line, two of about 50 people left in the stands (originally there were about 5,000). A hard ground ball came foul toward the right-field bullpen, caught by Marty Martinez, the Cannons’ bullpen coach and former major leaguer. I ran down the bleachers shouting for him to throw me the ball. He threw it to me, but I missed it and the ball rolled to my right. Luckily, my dad was right there and stopped the ball so I could pick it up, my first ball I got at a game. This is what baseball means to a young boy and his dad.
Absolutely! Great story Ryan
Wow. I was never very good at baseball myself, but I did enjoy being a part of the game. So much so that I taught myself how to keep score of the games and spent the last summer before going into the Marine Corps earning money scoring a local league…$15 a game, which was righteous bucks for a seventeen year old in 1979. It kept my car’s gas tank full and paid my admission to a lot of auto races–my other abiding passion. The two combined several years later when I went to work in timing and scoring for several major race tracks, a job that I still do today and which has kept my family fed during tough times. It’s a job not everyone can do and I guess I must be pretty good at it.
Baseball though. I cannot go to a ballgame without taking a scorepad. This served my family well back in 1984. We were living in California (just outside of Riverside) and my Grandmother, a die-hard Cubs fan, could not get the San Diego/Chicago playoff games on TV or radio. I could, though, and kept book the entire time…then went to her house and called the game for her from those sheets like I was the broadcaster. It all went well, till the Cubs sadly tanked in the last game…
Grandma, by the way, was buried with her Cubs hat on, and a signed picture of Ernie Banks (her adopted son!) in her casket.
Great story James. Thanks for your service too.
It’s Sept. 1968, I’m a 16 year old varsity first baseman and avid Tiger fan. Mom, dad&I are in Detroit for crucial wknd series against the O’s. OMG! Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson blasts 3-run upper deck homer, Denny McClain starts triple-play off liner by Boog Powell, absolute best weekend of my short life!
My Dad is a die-hard baseball fan. He loves the Cleveland Indians, probably more than anything in the world besides his family. One of my favorite memories is “watching” baseball games on the radio. During the summer my siblings and I were always outside, running around, helping with chores, hanging out on the playground set. When Dad came outside to turn the radio on we would all sit around and listen to the Cleveland Indians play. Sitting outside in those moments with the family, listening to the radio, are some of the happiest memories from my childhood. Even to this day my parents answering machine message is “we can’t come to the phone right now, we are probably busy “watching” the Indians on the radio.”
I seen some pretty awesome things living in Southern California my whole life. Growing up I’ve seen I got to see Jim Abbott pitch, Jim Edmonds incredible catch, Miguel Tejada hit a inside the park home run (should have been called an error on Garrett Anderson) Raul Mondesi toss me his batting gloves and wished me best of luck on the upcoming Juniors Playoffs which I would be in front of thousands of people for the first time and leading to high expectations from my team, scouts, the opposition of higher rank, and really those are all incredible emotions to experience but I was in the middle of such an unfortunate divorce between my mom and dad there was never time to think or talk about these experiences with anyone so when it came game time, it hit me; and it was Heavy. It must’ve showed all over me because vividly remember this feeling, this pressure was astronomical . While Warming up a hitting coach, (go figure) Coach Delgado became a major role model of mine from day forward. He just knew enough by what he could feel in my voice and demeanor, I didn’t have to say much when he asked was wrong, I immediately began to really fight crying. It was compassion I felt, from a stranger, but it was what I needed. He didn’t educate me, or tell me anything about my situation and how to deal with it, since that’s what I thought I would need…No. All that was simply understood by his approach, his job was to make sure I accomplished what I worked so hard for. He simply told me, my mom, my dad, brother, sister, teachers, grades dropping NONE OF THAT MEANS ANYTHING, WHEN IT COMES TO MY ACCOMPLISHMENTS. He said no one will take responsibility for your failures because they are on you, but some of us were handed moments where we’ can experience accomplishments that not many others will see, except thru us…he said he believes in me and he knows I deserve everything I came there to get. This was the 2nd round, winner would advance to Championship. We were outmatched as the #8 seed seeing #2 seed. I went on to pitch the greatest game of my life, nearly perfect, I pegged a guy. I’ve never told this story, but it felt good . Even if it doesn’t win the baseball radio, it can at least be relatable to someone and if nothing make someone feel good.
In the mid 1990s I was surveying for owls at night deep in the forest. Driving around forest at 12 to 3AM, I listened to KNBR Midnight Baseball. Replays of the days game. Baseball during the day is difficult on the AM BCB in my area, so I use a CC Witness now to record games and listen to them during the day. My favorite AM radio is the CCRadio2E.
On my birthday about 25 years ago a friend took me to dinner at Mickey Mantle’s restaurant in NYC. I bought a book, there on a stage, I saw my boyhood hero in the flesh
I race up with the book to see if he would sign it. I was intercepted by 2 security guards who said MR. MANTLE is having dinner
I was heartbroken
We were going to leave, but decided to get something to eat
As we were waiting for our meal, these 2 security guards came to our table and said MR. MANTLE would like to see you now
I walked up to his tablet
He said Hi guys, I hope you understand, I had to be with them , but I much rather be with you
I am so sorry about that. What can I have the honor of doing for you ? He was a great Guy and made a highlight of my life that night. I’ll never forget him. He was 1st class
Amazing story John. Did he sign your book?!
Falling asleep listening to Detroit Tiger games called by Ernie Harwell on the radio under my pillow.
Just enthusiastic about people having fun
More than once my parents let me take an opening day excursion on Peter Pan Bus Lines to Fenway Park from Springfield, MA, about an hour-and-a-half away. The first time I believe was 1967, the “Impossible Dream” year. Since they had pretty much stunk out the joint for quite a few years and had gone 72-90 in ’66, tickets were easy to get and I was right on the field down the right field line just before where the stands bend to the right.
Here’s the kicker: That first time I was only 11-years-old and it was a school day. I remember the townies next to me being amazed that I’d made the trip alone. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but can you imagine doing something like that now? Chances are that I’d never be seen again.
Ah, “back in the day”. Good times, for sure.
When I was about seven or eight years old I won a church raffle. I was able to attend a Mariners game at the Kingdome in Seattle, I’d never been to a MLB game before. The person at the church held season tickets and I got to sit about five rows up right up from the home team dugout. This was either 1995 or 1996 when the Mariners had quite the team. I got to see Randy Johnson pitch, and strike out so many batters that night. Prior to this experience I was a casual fan at best, but that single experience got me hooked, still my favorite sport to this day!
One of my favorite baseball stories has actually less to do with baseball and more to do with radio:. When I was a kid growing up in Chicago in the 1970s, my Dad would take my older brother and I to Wrigley Field to see the Cubs play when the Cubs were in town. On more than one occasion I remember sitting in the backseat of my Dad’s 1972 Impala driving east on Irving Park Road on beautiful sunlit Saturday afternoons with the radio tuned to WGN AM 720 and ‘The Noon Show’ would be on the air, hosted by Orion Samuelson who would provide the weekly roundup of all things agribusiness. There was something reassuring about the sound of his voice as I listened to him on our way to the ballpark that I look back on with nostalgia; Orion had a very long radio and television career on WGN that began in 1960 and spanned 60 years! (He only just recently retired in 2020). That’s a memory I’ll always cherish and reminds me of a beautiful time in my childhood.
My lifelong love of this game started in 1975 when I signed up for little league baseball. I played for 2 years with a lot of my childhood friends on the same team. Left field, third base, and catcher positions. Grape nehi soda and baseball bubblegum for 25 cents from the concession stand was always the first thing to get when arriving to the ball field to play this amazing sport.
Local businesses would sponsor each team around the area for which they would get to embroider their business names on our uniform jerseys. How do I know this? Well my sister found 2 team/coach pictures from 1975 and 1976 in our Mom’s belongings after she passed last year and sent them to me. I don’t remember the pictures being taken back then. So what an awesome visual memory of my youth. In 1976, Dad would take my brother and I to Baltimore to watch the Orioles play. Brooks Robinson would retire after the following season with 22 years playing for the same team. In 1978, I would get to meet him at our local JCPennys and received an autographed photo, which I still have to this day.
And who else collected baseball cards? Remember the gum stick in each pack? I would like to know which ones I destroyed by clothes-pinning them to my bicycle spokes to make that really “cool” sound. Aaron, Brett, Yount, Carew?? Oh well, those cards are gone forever. Perhaps I really don’t want to know. I’m fortunate that my Dad saved my entire card collection after I left home and still have those too. (Although he did toss my original release vinyl record collection.) I still collect and am amazed by the quality of these cards. Nothing like getting a game-used jersey or bat card. Or that rare autograph card !
I grew up in a very rural mountainous area of south central PA. Radio reception was limited to the few local stations but occasionally I was able to pick up some night games out of Baltimore and Detroit. The broadcasts kept fading in and out on my portable “high-tech” 6 transistor AM/FM radio. I would rotate the radio around until the reception got clearer. At that age, I had no idea how this “magic” was even possible. This fascinating gadget that I could hold in my hand, was my “key” to the outside world that I only read about at that time. Now I could listen to people talk about it. Ground wave propagation theory would come later in my life.
Fast forward to present day and my love for radio has never changed. It has provided a very satisfying career for me as well. I listen everyday and am so happy we can now enjoy a full season of MLB baseball. I carry a radio to every game I can attend and listen to the radio broadcast while watching real time. It makes the game much more enjoyable, especially if your seated in the nose bleed sections.
If you can, take your kids to the ball park and enjoy this quality time with them. Teach them the game. Spoil them with the incredible food and soda. Take in the post-game fireworks and concerts. Bobble head giveaway games are real nice too. Make those memories they will remember forever. Thanks for reading and GO DBACKS !!!
1980 World Series. Phillies vs. Royals. Working 2nd shift I remember huddled around a transistor radio. Middle of a warehouse. Listening to the game.
My father would like it
It’s hard to pick out a single favorite story when there have been so many. As a diehard Yankees fan not willing to splurge on cable TV, radio is how I “watch” the games. The randomness of the game – line drives going for outs and poorly hit bloops producing runs – make America’s Pastime so unpredictable. Yet, the game is really made for radio more so than any other sport due to the set fielding positions and order – base to base to base – on the field. My father used to scan the radio dial to find whatever team we might be near on a long trip, and that helped make car rides go by more quickly. Although most of my baseball on radio memories involve John Sterling calling the play by play with Eddie Layton … and now Paul Cartier and Ed Alstrom hammering charges on the organ in the background, one memory that stands out involves Jon Miller calling an Orioles game in Baltimore 30 or so years ago. This memory is for me as unique as every game is different in that I have only heard one or two Orioles games on the radio, and it stands out because I was camping .. nothing like enjoying the great outdoors all the while listening to the game – a.m radio crackles and all.
The crack of the bat and roar of the crowd (when they had big crowds) make baseball an enjoyable pastime on the radio, and one memory that stands out is my brother sitting in my parents’ kitchen listening to the Yankees close out a World Series victory in the late 1990s or 2000. It feels like just yesterday.