Major League Baseball on CBS Radio
Major League Baseball on CBS Radio was the de facto title for the CBS Radio Network's coverage of Major League Baseball. Produced by CBS Radio Sports, the program was the official national radio broadcaster for the All-Star Game and the postseason (including the World Series) from 1976 to 1997.
|Other names||MLB on CBS Radio|
|Running time||180 minutes or until game ends|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Home station||CBS Radio Network|
|Syndicates||List of broadcast stations owned by CBS Radio|
|TV adaptations||Major League Baseball on CBS|
|Starring||See commentators section below|
|Created by||CBS Radio Sports|
|Recording studio||The site of the games|
|Original release||July 13, 1976 – October 26, 1997|
|No. of series||22|
|Audio format||Stereophonic sound|
|Website||CBS Radio Sports (Westwood One)|
MLB – CBSSports.com
CBS first covered Major League Baseball in the early days of radio, sharing World Series coverage with NBC beginning in 1927 and All-Star Game coverage beginning in 1933. Mutual joined them in 1935; the three networks continued to share coverage of baseball's "jewel" events through 1938, with Mutual gaining exclusive rights to the World Series in 1939 and the All-Star Game in 1942. NBC, in turn, would have exclusivity for both events from 1957 through 1975.
In 1950, CBS Radio carried Saturday regular-season Brooklyn Dodgers games played at Ebbets Field, simulcasting the team's local broadcasts on WMGM with Red Barber and Connie Desmond announcing. The CBS simulcasts, which were sponsored by General Foods, were not carried in major league cities.
From 1976–1979, CBS Radio paid US$75,000 per year for rights to the World Series, All-Star Game, and League Championship Series. In 1985 the network added regular-season Saturday Game of the Week broadcasts.
By 1990, CBS Television would get into the Major League Baseball broadcasting business (having last done so in 1965). This particular partnership would last through the 1993 season. Meanwhile, CBS Radio would pay Major League Baseball US$50 million for 1990–1993 radio rights to the Game of the Week and Sunday Night Baseball as well as the All-Star Game, League Championship Series, and World Series.
Following the 1993 season, CBS Radio signed a six-year contract worth US$50.5 million. Following the 1994 strike and the dissolving of "The Baseball Network" (a planned six-year-long television joint venture involving ABC, NBC and Major League Baseball), the television contracts had to be realigned. Ultimately, Major League Baseball on CBS Radio would last through the 1997 season before being succeeded by Major League Baseball on ESPN Radio.
The Game of the WeekEdit
In 1985, CBS Radio started broadcasting a weekly Game of the Week. CBS Radio usually did two games each Saturday, one on the afternoons and another during the evenings. Typically, CBS' markets aired only the afternoon broadcasts. The games covered varied from the ones NBC-TV were offering at the time to games outside of NBC's sight.
One notable exception was KCBS in San Francisco, who almost always did the evening games. In 1994, just before the strike, KNBR carried the broadcasts in San Francisco and finally aired some of CBS' afternoon games. However, following the strike, KNBR dropped CBS' regular season broadcasts, and with the exception of 1995, when all playoff games were played at the same time, they usually only carried one or two Division Series games on days when there were three games played.
As previously mentioned, CBS Radio would also eventually follow ESPN television's suit, and broadcast Sunday night games (something ESPN started in 1990). John Rooney and Jerry Coleman usually called these games while Jim Hunter hosted the pregame show entitled Inside Pitch.
CBS Radio's local coverageEdit
- Chicago White Sox (WSCR)
- Detroit Tigers (WXYT-FM)
- New York Mets (WFAN)
- New York Yankees (WCBS)
- Philadelphia Phillies (WPHT, but expected to move to WIP-FM as of 2012 season)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (KDKA-FM as of 2012 season, returning games to CBS Radio, but to a different station than longtime flagship KDKA)
- St. Louis Cardinals (KMOX; returned in 2011 after a two-year absence)
The Game of the WeekEdit
From 1985–1993, the two announcers calling the games at hand split play-by-play duties. From 1994 until the end of its coverage in 1997, CBS Radio used Jeff Torborg and Al Downing (as well as Rick Cerone in 1997) as color analysts paired with the play-by-play announcers.
The Home Town InningEdit
The Home Town Inning, traditionally featuring a visiting team announcer calling the top of the fifth with the home team announcer calling the bottom of the fifth, was featured on CBS Radio postseason games from 1985–1986 and on regular season games from 1985–1997.
Full list of commentatorsEdit
Play-by-play commentators included:
- Sparky Anderson (1979–1986) for the World Series
- Johnny Bench (1985–1993)
- Marty Brennaman (1976) for the World Series
- Jack Buck (1983–1989) for the World Series
- Joe Buck (1993–1995)
- Steve Busby (1987–1994)
- Gary Cohen (1986; 1994–1997)
- Jerry Coleman (1985–1997)
- Win Elliot (1976–1986) for the World Series
- Gene Elston (1987–1995)
- Steve Garvey (1990–1992)
- Curt Gowdy (1985–1986)
- Hank Greenwald (1997)
- Ernie Harwell (1992–1997)
- Jim Hunter (1986–1996)
- Frank Messer (1990–1992)
- Bob Murphy (1985–1986; 1988)
- Brent Musburger (1985–1989)
- Lindsey Nelson (1985–1986)
- Ross Porter (1977–1978) for the World Series
- John Rooney (1985–1997)
- Vin Scully (1979–1982; 1990–1997) for the World Series
- Jeff Torborg (1995–1997) for the World Series
- Bill White (1976–1989)
Other commentators (roughly in order of first appearance) included:
- Brent Musburger
- Dick Stockton
- Howard David
- Ted Robinson
- Charlie Slowes
- Tom Kelly
- Joel Meyers
- Tommy Hutton
- Ron Fairly
- Joe Torre
- Lee Mazzilli
- George Grande
- Jerry Trupiano – Trupiano called three games on the CBS Radio Game of the Week in 1991
- Joe Magrane
- Billy Sample
- Spencer Ross
- Al Downing
- Rick Cerone
- Steve Mason
All-Star Game commentatorsEdit
Tie-breaker game commentatorsEdit
|1978 AL East||Ernie Harwell||Win Elliot|
|1980 NL West||Lindsey Nelson||Jerry Coleman|
|1995 AL West||Ernie Harwell||Al Downing|
Division Series and League Championship Series commentatorsEdit
- Johnny Bench (1985–1993)
- Jack Buck (1979–1982)
- Gary Cohen (League Championship Series: 1988–1991; 1995-1997; 1996 American League Division Series (Yankees–Rangers))
- Jerry Coleman (1976–1983; 1985, 1988–1993; 1995–1997)
- Gene Elston (1995–1997)
- Curt Gowdy (1980–1981; 1983; 1985–1986)
- Ernie Harwell (American League Championship Series: 1976–1983; 1985–1986; 1993; American League Division Series: 1995–1997)
- Ralph Kiner (1976–1978)
- Hank Greenwald (1997)
- Harry Kalas (1984)
- Ned Martin (1976–1978; 1981)
- Denny Matthews (1982)
- Brent Musburger (1986)
- John Rooney (League Championship Series: 1987–1993; 1995–1997; Division Series: 1995–1997)
- Ross Porter (1984)
- Jeff Torborg (League Championship Series: 1995–1997; Division Series: 1995–1997)
- Bill White (1976–1979; 1984–1985; 1987–1988)
Jim Hunter called the American League Championship Series alongside Johnny Bench from 1990–1992. In 1993, Hunter teamed Ernie Harwell to call the ALCS. And in 1995 and 1996 respectively, Hunter called the National League Division Series and National League Championship Series alongside Jerry Coleman. In 1996, Hunter called the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers with Gary Cohen.
World Series commentatorsEdit
When CBS Radio took over World Series rights from NBC Radio in 1976, they continued the old practice of having the local team announcers do the play-by-play for the World Series games in the road market of that home team's broadcasters through 1978. Thus, Bill White got call do all three World Series involving the New York Yankees on CBS Radio from 1976–1978 and Ross Porter with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977–1978. In addition, CBS Radio used Marty Brennaman in 1976, when his Cincinnati Reds played against White's Yankees.
In 1977, Bill White did CBS Radio play-by-play for the games in Los Angeles while Ross Porter handled the games played in New York. Thus, when White was working on ABC-TV during that series, it was during the home games in a pre/postgame role (White would eventually cover the trophy presentation ceremony for ABC). Likewise, Rose Porter handled White's TV role while in Los Angeles. From 1976–1978, Win Elliot was always in the booth either as a host or color man but never he did play-by-play for CBS Radio's World Series coverage.
In 1979, CBS Radio, following the lead begun by ABC's television coverage in 1977, dropped the usage of the local broadcasters on play-by-play. They stopped using local announcers altogether when Vin Scully began doing the World Series as a CBS employee through 1982. (Beginning in 1981, however, participating teams' flagship radio stations were permitted to produce their own local World Series broadcasts and air them live. The affiliate stations in the teams' radio networks continued to be obligated to carry the CBS Radio broadcasts.)
After the 1982 season, Scully left CBS altogether to do baseball play-by-play for NBC on television (a role that he had through the end of the 1989 season). In Vin Scully's absence, came Jack Buck, who would call the World Series for CBS Radio from 1983 through 1989.
In 1985, KMOX, the St. Louis Cardinals' flagship station at the time, simulcast with CBS Radio's World Series coverage involving the Cardinals. That was mainly because Jack Buck had a lengthy career calling Cardinals games for KMOX to go along with his national work for CBS Radio.
In 1990, Buck would move over to CBS-TV to call the World Series and Scully returned to CBS Radio to take his place following NBC's loss of television rights. Scully would continue to call the World Series on through 1997 (CBS' last before the contract moved to ESPN Radio).
World Series momentsEdit
1985 World SeriesEdit
Despite his long and illustrious career, Don Denkinger is probably best remembered for a blown call he made at first base in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, played on October 26. The St. Louis Cardinals led the Kansas City Royals by 3 games to 2. The Cardinals had taken a 1-0 lead in the 8th inning on a single by little-used backup catcher Brian Harper after pitchers Danny Cox (of the Cardinals) and Charlie Leibrandt (of the Royals) had battled back and forth all game long. Todd Worrell came into the game for the Cardinals in the 9th inning, first facing Jorge Orta, the leadoff batter for the Royals. Orta hit a slow roller to first baseman Jack Clark, who tossed to Worrell covering first base.
Denkinger was the umpire at first base and called Orta safe, even though television replays and photographs clearly showed that he was out by half a step. The Cardinals argued briefly, but Denkinger refused to reverse it. The Royals went on to win Game 6 by the score of 2-1.
Orta, leading off, swings and hits it to the right side, and the pitcher has to cover he is...SAFE, SAFE, SAFE, and we'll have an argument! Sparky, I think he was out!
He had the base and he had the ball, man, what else is there? That's the rule isn't it?
1986 World SeriesEdit
- J = Jack Buck
- S = Sparky Anderson
J: Mookie Wilson is the batter...he has a hit...one out of three...a switch hitter, he'll bat left. Moments ago, the Red Sox were one strike away. Now they're one out away. Here's the pitch...and a foul strike one...back into the seats and Wilson wasn't taking. Howard Johnson is on deck, we mentioned earlier he stayed in the game.
S: Mookie's not bashful, he's not afraid to swing this bat. He's not concerned right now...he wants a base hit.
J: Next pitch from Stanley is a ball and it's one and one...they hold against Ray Knight, he is not a threat to steal. The batter is Mookie Wilson, one ball one strike, two on, two out...way high ball two, as Stanley slipped coming of the pitching rubber. The on deck batter is Howard Johnson and this thing, this game has been at the finish line three or four times. 5-4 Boston, bottom half of the tenth inning, 5-4, first and third two out, and a foul puts Boston within a strike of the title again. It evens the count to Mookie Wilson, that ball in on him, two and two.
S: Don't be surprised if you see his palmball right here.
J: First and third. Tying run at third, winning run at first, two out, the pitch! a swing and a...foul tip, he just got a piece of it and that's how close Boston was to nailing it down. A foul by Mookie Wilson keeps him up there. two balls two strikes. The Mets have scored here in the tenth, they trail 5-4 trying to send us into tomorrow night. Here's the pitch! Swing and a foul, back and out of play and Wilson hammered at one outside, in the strike zone I think, stays 2-2. Mitchell the tying run at third, a base hit ties it for New York, a long one could win it, a home run would win it, the pitch! Ball three! Wild pitch! We're gonna be tied! The ball went off the glove of the catcher. We're 5-5 in the bottom of the tenth. Unbelievable, it's 5-5 and now the winning run is at second with two out. A breaking ball handcuffed Gedman, a breaking ball handcuffed the catcher and Mitchell raced home with the tying run and Mookie Wilson could win it here. They have a base open and Howard Johnson up next. That run charged to Schiraldi. The 3-2 pitch on the way, swing and a high pop foul going out of play. And it gives everybody a chance to collect their collective breath as the Mets have scored two here in the tenth after scoring a run in the eighth to pull it out of the bag again.
S: Boy if this don't remind you of that California Angels-Boston series, nothing will...
J: And a full count on Mookie Wilson, he can win it with a hit. Ray Knight is at second base. Here's the pitch! Swing and a foul out of play, and I'll tell you this folks. If the Mets win this tonight, man, there will be no holding them tomorrow, Dennis Boyd or no Dennis Boyd.
S: They'll come out here looking like they're on stilts.
J: It stays three and two, let's look ahead to the Boston eleventh inning. Evans will lead it off. Isn't this unbelievable. A couple of times Boston was a strike away from winning. You remember that little foul tip just before? What did they call it? Wild pitch or passed ball?
S: I think they called it a wild pitch.
J: Wild pitch. Here's the pitch to Mookie Wilson. Winning run at second. Ground ball to first, it is a run...an error! An error by Buckner! The winning run scores! The Mets win it 6 to 5 with three in the tenth! The ball went right through the legs of Buckner and the Mets with two men out and nobody on have scored three times to bring about a seventh game, which will be played here tomorrow night. Folks, it was unbelievable. An error, right through the legs of Buckner. There were two on, nobody out, a single by Carter, a single by Mitchell, a single by Ray Knight, a wild pitch, an error by Buckner. Three in the ninth for the Mets. They've won the game 6-5 and we shall play here... tomorrow night! Well, open up the history book, folks, we've got an entry for you...What do you think, Sparky?
S: I never seen nothing like it. Here you got two out, two run lead, you figure Carter up, he can't even hurt you. He gets a base hit, another base hit, another base hit...wild pitches, ball rolls through the guys legs. I've never seen nothing like it, Jack.
J: It will be Boyd against Darling tomorrow night.
S: Yogi Berra is the greatest human being who ever lived. He said, it's not over 'til it's over.
J: This game is now history and it deserves its own page...
1988 World SeriesEdit
For CBS Radio's coverage of the 1988 World Series, Jack Buck provided play-by-play while Bill White served as the analyst. This was Buck's call of the final moments of Game 1. It begins here with Buck speculating on what might happen if Kirk Gibson manages to reach base: "... then you would run for Gibson and have Sax batting. But, we have a big 3-2 pitch coming here from Eckersley. Gibson swings, and a fly ball to deep right field! This is gonna be a home run! Unbelievable! A home run for Gibson! And the Dodgers have won the game, 5 to 4; I don't believe what I just saw!"
The last sentence is often remembered and quoted by fans. Buck followed it with, "I don't believe what I just saw! Is this really happening, Bill?"
Moments after Kirk Gibson's home run, Jack Buck told his listeners, "I've seen a lot of dramatic finishes, in a lot of sports, but this one might top almost every other one."
1989 World SeriesEdit
On October 17, 1989, commentators Jack Buck, Johnny Bench and John Rooney, were on hand at San Francisco's Candlestick Park for Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. At 5:04 p.m. local time, the Loma Prieta earthquake hit (and subsequently caused a ten-day delay for the World Series). Unlike ABC-Television (with Al Michaels, Jim Palmer and Tim McCarver calling the action on the TV side), CBS Radio was in a commercial break when the earthquake struck. After the earthquake hit, Jack Buck told the listening audience, "I must say about Johnny Bench, folks, if he moved that fast when he played, he would have never hit into a double play. I never saw anybody move that fast in my life."
1991 World SeriesEdit
On October 27, 1991, Vin Scully, along with Johnny Bench and John Rooney, was on hand for a game considered by fans to be one of the most intense in the sport's history. Game 7 of the already exciting World Series (between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves) was scoreless going into the ninth inning, and an emotionally drained Scully said, "After eight full innings of play, Atlanta nothing, Minnesota nothing... I think we'll be back in just a moment." In the bottom of the tenth inning, Gene Larkin won the game for the Twins with a high fly-ball into left field (which allowed Dan Gladden to score) off Alejandro Peña.
The following is Scully's description of the final moments of Game 7: "Peña, right foot on the rubber. You can taste the pressure here in the 'Dome as Alejandro straightens up. And the pitch to Larkin. Swung on, a high fly ball into left center, the run will score, the ball will bounce for a single, and the Minnesota Twins are the champions of the world!"
1996 World SeriesEdit
During his CBS Radio broadcast in 1996, Vin Scully made another memorable call in the third inning of Game 1, when 19-year-old rookie outfielder Andruw Jones became the first National League player to hit two home runs in his first two at-bats in a World Series.
|“||Jones hits this one to left field, wa-a-ay back, the kid has hit another one!||”|
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- Tuesday Night, July 9 at 8:30 P.M. EST, AudioNet, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, NBC Sports and CBS Radio, proudly present the 67th Annual All Star Game, live from Veteran's Stadium in Philadelphia. CBS Radio's Play-By-Play team of John Rooney and Jim Hunter will be providing complete coverage of the game.
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- 1986 NLCS | Game 6
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- 1991 World Series | Game 7
- 1985 World Series | Game 6
- 1982 World Series | Game 7
- 1977 World Series | Game 6
- Royals win to force Series into 7th game
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