Pomrenke: Graham McNamee, baseball’s first radio star

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on April 24, 2017:

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen of the radio audience!”

Long before Vin Scully, Walter Cronkite, or Ernie Pyle became household names, Graham McNamee was the most famous broadcaster in the world. In the earliest days of radio during the twentieth century, McNamee’s distinctive introduction was the cue for millions of Americans to gather around their household sets and listen to the most exciting events of the day.

When the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that McNamee had been selected as the recipient of the 2016 Ford C. Frick Award honoring excellence in baseball broadcasting, the most common reaction from fans and writers was “wait … who’s that?” But no discussion of baseball broadcasting can begin without him.

McNamee’s rise to fame was so sudden and his fall from the public eye so complete that it’s hard to believe what a big star he was in the 1920s and ’30s. That was the first golden era of American sports, dominated by legends like Babe Ruth in baseball, Red Grange in football, Jack Dempsey in boxing, Bobby Jones in golf, and Bill Tilden in tennis. To most fans, McNamee was the common thread tying all of these great athletes together, sitting behind the microphone to describe their historic feats.

Read the full article here: http://thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/graham-mcnamee-baseball-s-first-radio-star

Originally published: April 24, 2017. Last Updated: April 24, 2017.