Lutzke: Understated John Fetzer played outsized role in baseball and broadcasting

From SABR member Mitch Lutzke at Tigers History on March 25, 2020:

He brought baseball to a nationwide audience, made players famous and owners rich. Some suggest he should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame for that alone. However you look at it, John Fetzer had a tremendous impact on the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball. What you might not know was that Fetzer first came up with the idea for televised Monday night baseball (and was ignored), made the owners a ton of money through television contracts, kept Charlie Finley in baseball, and was seen as the de facto president of the American League.

Fetzer became enamored with communication as a young boy in Indiana, when he was intrigued by the telegraph. Radio was in its infancy while Fetzer was growing up and that soon snagged his attention. He began by working in radio, founding WKZO in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and then purchasing stations around Michigan and in Nebraska. Later, when television was in its birth stages, Fetzer latched onto that, too. In a short time, he amassed a fortune, became independently wealthy and purchased the Tigers.

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Originally published: March 25, 2020. Last Updated: March 25, 2020.