Appel: The history of TV coverage in baseball

From SABR member Marty Appel at The National Pastime Museum on September 15, 2016:

There was a time in baseball when the baseball writers could rightfully claim to be the only ones qualified to vote for the Hall of Fame, largely because they witnessed so many hundreds of games.

And you didn’t.

That was because you—those watching at home on TV (“Don’t touch that dial!”) —were seeing double images (ghosting), while walking around the room holding rabbit ears, searching for the best possible picture. It was “low-res TV,” and we were happy to take what they gave us. It was often a hopeless cause, made good only by not realizing better days were coming.

Was that No. 7 or No. 77 who just hit that home run?

And that was all okay with baseball owners, who weren’t anxious to give away too much for free. Going back to the day radio first presented baseball, there was always a group of owners who felt “you’ll kill off live attendance.” (They were, of course, happy with the additional revenue paid in rights fees to the clubs.)

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Originally published: September 15, 2016. Last Updated: September 15, 2016.