Al Helfer

George Alvin "Al" Helfer (September 26, 1911 – May 16, 1975) was an American radio sportscaster.

Nicknamed "Mr. Radio Baseball", Helfer called the play-by-play of seven World Series, ten All-Star Games, and regular season broadcasts for several teams (among them the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and Oakland Athletics) and the Mutual network. He also did the broadcast of the Army–Navy Game during the 1940s and 1950s, and several Rose Bowl games.

Helfer was born in Elrama, Pennsylvania. He played football and basketball at Washington & Jefferson College, and took his first job as a sports reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after graduation, also calling the football games of the Pittsburgh Pirates (as they were then called) and Pittsburgh Panthers for radio station WWSW. He started broadcasting recreations of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games in 1933.

He joined Red Barber as the regular broadcast team of the Cincinnati Reds in 1935. He left Cincinnati to join CBS in 1937, working a few baseball games and a lot of football games. Helfer was reunited with Barber (who often addressed him on-air as "Brother Al") on the Brooklyn Dodgers broadcasts in 1939. They worked together until 1941, when Helfer joined the U.S. Navy during World War II.

When he returned the Dodgers job was no longer available, so Helfer started doing "Game of the Day" broadcasts for Mutual. He was paired with Dizzy Dean on the network's broadcasts in the early 1950s, though the two men often argued and never got along.[1] He did eventually rejoin the Dodgers for their last years in Brooklyn, calling their final home game and introducing the players to the crowd for the final time. In 1958 Helfer called Philadelphia Phillies games which were broadcast to the New York market by WOR-TV, helping to fill the void of National League baseball left in the city by the departure of the Dodgers and Giants.[2]

He worked a number of teams after that, including the Houston Colt .45s (1962), Denver Broncos (1962–63), and Oakland Athletics (1968–69).

On December 12, 2018 it was announced Helfer had been awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for Excellence in Baseball Broadcasting from the Baseball Hall of Fame.[3]

His second wife was vaudeville performer Ramona; they married on 14 June 1944, and stayed together until her death in December 1972. The following June, he married Sacramento resident Margaret Grabbe, to whom he remained married until his death. He died, aged 63, in Sacramento, California.

Al Helfer
Al Helfer
Helfer broadcasting the Mutual "Game of the Day" in the 1950s
BornSeptember 26, 1911
DiedMay 16, 1975 (aged 63)
Known forSports broadcaster

Event broadcast history

Sources

  1. ^ Smith, Curt (2005). Voices of summer: ranking baseball's 101 all-time best announcers. Carroll & Graf Publishers. ISBN 0-7867-1446-8.
  2. ^ Gould, Jack (April 24, 1958). "We Want the Bums!; Phillies Bow as Video Regulars Here, and Brooklyn Was Never Like This". The New York Times. p. 63.
  3. ^ "Radio pioneer Al Helfer wins Hall of Fame's Frick Award". ESPN.com. ESPN, Inc. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  4. ^ "1945 World Series Game 3 - Jack Benny OTR Podcast". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22.
  5. ^ "1945 World Series Game 7 - Jack Benny OTR Podcast". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22.

External links

1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1939 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the seventh playing of the mid-summer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 11, 1939, at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York City, the home of the New York Yankees of the American League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 3–1.

1945 New York Yankees season

The 1945 New York Yankees season was the team's 43rd season in New York and its 45th overall. The team finished in fourth place in the American League with a record of 81–71, finishing 6.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers. New York was managed by Joe McCarthy. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium.

1949 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1949 New York Giants season was the franchise's 67th season. The team finished in fifth place in the National League with a 73-81 record, 24 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. The games were now broadcast on the then new station WPIX-TV, which was launched the year before.

1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1951 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 18th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1951, at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan the home of the Detroit Tigers of the American League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 8–3.

1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1952 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 19th playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 8, 1952, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the home of the Philadelphia Phillies of the National League. The game resulted in the National League defeating the American League 3–2 in 5 innings. It was the first All-Star Game—and to date, the only—to be called early due to rain.

Mickey Mantle was selected an All-Star for the first time, as was pitcher Satchel Paige, who a day before the game turned 46 years old. Neither appeared in the game.

1953 World Series

The 1953 World Series matched the 4-time defending champions New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in a rematch of the 1952 Series, and the 4th such matchup between the two teams in the past seven seasons. The Yankees won in 6 games for their 5th consecutive title—a mark which has not been equalled—and their 16th overall. Billy Martin recorded his 12th hit of the Series scoring Hank Bauer in Game 6.

1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1956 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 23rd playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 10, 1956, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. the home of the Washington Senators of the American League.

1975 in radio

The year 1975 saw a number of significant events in radio broadcasting history.

Connie Desmond

Cornelius "Connie" Desmond (January 31, 1908 – March 10, 1983) was an American sportscaster, most prominently for the Brooklyn Dodgers of Major League Baseball.

Desmond began his career in 1932 as the voice of the minor league Toledo Mud Hens. In 1940, he was promoted to broadcasting the games of the AAA Columbus Red Birds.

Mel Allen was impressed enough with Desmond that he asked him to come to New York City as his sidekick on the home games of the Yankees and Giants in 1942. After one year, he left and joined with Red Barber on the Dodgers broadcasts, replacing Al Helfer. During the 1943 season, Barber and Desmond were the only voices of baseball in New York; the Giants and Yankees suspended broadcasts that year for unknown reasons. Desmond remained with the Dodgers until 1956, teaming with Barber (1943–1953), Ernie Harwell (1948–1949), and Vin Scully (1950–1956). In the 1940s Desmond also teamed with Barber to call college football and New York Giants football, and with Marty Glickman to call college basketball and New York Knicks basketball.

Desmond battled alcoholism for many years, and frequently missed games because he was too drunk to go on the air. Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley finally lost patience with him and fired him before the 1955 World Series—thus missing a chance to call the Dodgers' only world title on the East Coast. Desmond asked for and got another chance in 1956, but was fired for good after several more absences. He was succeeded by Jerry Doggett.Desmond was a fairly accomplished singer; in the early 1940s hosted several music shows on WOR, with himself as the featured singer.Desmond died March 10, 1983 in Toledo, Ohio at the age of 75.

Gene Kirby

Eugene "Gene" Kirby (died April 27, 2011, at St. Petersburg, Florida) was an American Major League Baseball announcer and front office executive. Kirby was one of the key play-by-play announcers for the Mutual Broadcasting System's Major League "Game of the Day" broadcasts during the late 1940s and 1950s, along with Dizzy Dean, Al Helfer, Art Gleeson and others. According to his obituary in Baseball America, Kirby worked with Dean for almost 20 years at Mutual, ABC and CBS.Kirby also spent part of his career in baseball administration, serving as traveling secretary of the Montréal Expos beginning with their founding in 1969, vice president, administration, of the Boston Red Sox (1975–1977), and director of broadcasting of the Expos and Philadelphia Phillies. While known largely for his work in baseball, Kirby also broadcast American college football and professional and college basketball.In retirement, he lived in Treasure Island, Florida, where he was a longtime friend of veteran baseball man Don Zimmer. Gene Kirby died at the age of 95 on April 27, 2011.

List of Houston Astros broadcasters

Broadcasters for the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers broadcasters

This article details the current and historical radio and television broadcasters for the National League Los Angeles Dodgers, which have been running for over eight decades, which began when the then Brooklyn Dodgers became one of the first MLB teams to begin radio broadcasts and were the first to be featured on a television baseball game broadcast, both during the 1939 season.

List of Major League Baseball All-Star Game broadcasters

The following is a list of the American radio and television networks and announcers that have broadcast the Major League Baseball All-Star Game over the years.

Major League Baseball on Mutual

Major League Baseball on Mutual was the de facto title of the Mutual Broadcasting System's (MBS) national radio coverage of Major League Baseball games. Mutual's coverage came about during the Golden Age of Radio in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. During this period, television sports broadcasting was in its infancy, and radio was still the main form of broadcasting baseball. For many years, Mutual was the national radio broadcaster for baseball's All-Star Game and World Series.

Monte Moore

Monte Moore (born 1930) is a former radio and television broadcaster for the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland Athletics baseball teams.

Rex Barney

Rex Edward Barney (December 19, 1924 – August 12, 1997) was a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1943 and from 1946 through 1950.

As a teenage phenom, Barney was signed by the Dodgers at the age of 18, in 1943. He pitched 45 innings that year.

Enlisting in the Army in 1943, Barney eventually served in the Europe receiving 2 Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star Medal.Barney returned to the majors in 1946. He was one of the hardest throwers in the league but struggled with wildness early in his career. In 1948, however, he gained control of his fastball and had his greatest season; he won 15 games and finished second in the National League with 138 strikeouts. The highlight was hurling a no-hitter against the New York Giants on September 9. He had to sit through a one-hour rain delay and showers in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings to finish the game. The next season, Barney pitched semi-effectively while suffering lingering effects from a leg injury suffered while sliding into second base.

Barney appeared in 3 games in the 1947 World Series – starting and losing the fifth game – against the New York Yankees. He got knocked out early in his 1949 World Series start, also against the Yankees, after just 2​2⁄3 innings. In 1950, he walked 48 batters in just 33 innings and never played in the majors again. He ended his career with a 35–31 record and a 4.31 earned run average.

After his retirement as a player, Barney briefly worked as a broadcaster, calling games for Mutual radio in 1958. That same year he also teamed with Al Helfer to call several Philadelphia Phillies games on New York station WOR-TV, helping to fill that city's void of National League baseball following the departure of the Dodgers and Giants to the West Coast.Barney also teamed with Ted Patterson in 1982 and 1983 to cablecast 16 Baltimore Orioles games per year on the SuperTV channel.

Union Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania

Union Township is a township in Washington County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 5,700 at the 2010 census.

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