Red Barber

Walter Lanier "Red" Barber (February 17, 1908 – October 22, 1992) was an American sports commentator. Barber, nicknamed "The Ol' Redhead", was primarily identified with radio broadcasts of Major League Baseball, calling play-by-play across four decades with the Cincinnati Reds (1934–1938), Brooklyn Dodgers (1939–1953), and New York Yankees (1954–1966). Like his fellow sports pioneer Mel Allen, Barber also gained a niche calling college and professional American football in his primary market of New York City.

Red Barber
Red Barber
Barber in 1955
Walter Lanier Barber

February 17, 1908
DiedOctober 22, 1992 (aged 84)
Alma materUniversity of Florida
OccupationAmerican sportscaster


Early years

Barber was born in Columbus, Mississippi. He was a distant relative of poet Sidney Lanier and writer Thomas Lanier Williams. The family moved to Sanford, Florida in 1929, and at the age of 21, he hitchhiked to Gainesville and enrolled at the University of Florida, majoring in education. During Barber's first year, he worked at various jobs including part-time janitor at the University Club. It was there in January 1930 that Barber got his start in broadcasting.

An agriculture professor had been scheduled to appear on WRUF, the university radio station, to read a scholarly paper over the air. When the professor's absence was discovered minutes before the broadcast was to begin, janitor Barber was called in as a substitute. It was thus that the future sportscaster's first gig was reading "Certain Aspects of Bovine Obstetrics".[1] After those few minutes in front of a microphone, Barber decided to switch careers. He became WRUF's director and chief announcer and covered Florida football games that autumn. Then he dropped out of school to focus on his radio work. After four more years at WRUF he landed a job broadcasting the Cincinnati Reds on WLW and WSAI when Powel Crosley, Jr., purchased the team in 1934.

On Opening Day 1934 (April 17), Barber attended his first major league game and broadcast its play-by-play, as the Reds lost to the Chicago Cubs 6–0. He called games from the stands of Cincinnati's renamed Crosley Field for the next five seasons.

Brooklyn Dodgers

Barber had been hired by Larry MacPhail, then president of the Reds. When MacPhail moved on to become president of the Dodgers for the 1939 season, he took the play-by-play man along. In Brooklyn, Barber became an institution, widely admired for his folksy style. He was also appreciated by people concerned about Brooklyn's reputation as a land of "dees" and "dems".

Barber became famous for his signature catchphrases, including these:

  • "They're tearin' up the pea patch" – used for a team on a winning streak.
  • "The bases are F.O.B. (full of Brooklyns)" – indicating the Dodgers had loaded the bases.
  • "Can of corn" – describing a softly hit, easily caught fly ball.
  • "Rhubarb" – any kind of heated on-field dispute or altercation.
  • "Sittin' in the catbird seat" – used when a player or team was performing exceptionally well.
  • "Walkin' in the tall cotton" – also used to describe success.
  • "Slicker than boiled okra" – describing a ball that a fielder was unable to get a grip on.
  • "Easy as a bank of fog" – describing the graceful movement of a fielder.
  • "Tighter than a new pair of shoes on a rainy day" – describing a closely contested game.
  • "Tied up in a croker sack" – describing a one-sided game where the outcome was all but decided.

To further his image as a Southern gentleman, Barber would often identify players as "Mister", "big fella", or "old" (regardless of the player's age):

  • "Now, Mister Reiser steps to the plate, batting at .344."
  • "Big fella Hatten pitches, it's in there for strike one."
  • "Old number 13, Ralph Branca, coming in to pitch."

A number of play-by-play announcers including Chris Berman have adopted his use of "back, back, back" to describe a long fly ball with potential to be a home run. Those other announcers are describing the flight of the ball but Barber was describing the outfielder in this famous call from Game 6 of the 1947 World Series. Joe DiMaggio was the batter:

  • "Here's the pitch, swung on, belted ... it's a long one ... back goes Gionfriddo, back, back, back, back, back, back ... heeee makes a one-handed catch against the bullpen! Oh, Doctor!"

The phrase "Oh, Doctor" was also picked up by some later sportscasters, most notably Jerry Coleman, who was a New York Yankee infielder during the 1940s and 1950s and later worked alongside Barber in the Yankees' radio and TV booths.

In Game 4 of that same 1947 Series, Barber memorably described Cookie Lavagetto's ninth-inning hit to break up Bill Bevens' no-hitter and win the game at once:

  • "Wait a minute ... Stanky is being called back from the plate and Lavagetto goes up to hit ... Gionfriddo walks off second ... Miksis off first ... They're both ready to go on anything ... Two men out, last of the ninth ... the pitch ... swung on, there's a drive hit out toward the right field corner. Henrich is going back. He can't get it! It's off the wall for a base hit! Here comes the tying run, and here comes the winning run! ... Friends, they're killin' Lavagetto... his own teammates... they're beatin' him to pieces and it's taking a police escort to get Lavagetto away from the Dodgers! ... Well, I'll be a suck-egg mule!"

In 1939 Barber broadcast the first major-league game on television, on experimental NBC station W2XBS. In 1946 he added to his Brooklyn duties a job as sports director of the CBS Radio Network, succeeding Ted Husing and continuing through 1955. There, his greatest contribution was to conceive and host the CBS Football Roundup, which switched listeners back and forth between broadcasts of different regional college games each week.

For most of Barber's run with the Dodgers, the team was broadcast over radio station WMGM (later WHN) at 1050 on the AM dial. From the start of regular television broadcasts until their move to Los Angeles, the Dodgers were on WOR-TV, New York's Channel 9. Barber's most frequent broadcasting partner in Brooklyn was Connie Desmond.

Barber developed a severe bleeding ulcer in 1948 and had to take a leave of absence from broadcasting for several weeks. Dodgers president Branch Rickey arranged for Ernie Harwell, the announcer for the minor-league Atlanta Crackers, to be sent to Brooklyn as Barber's substitute; in exchange, Cliff Dapper, the catcher for the Dodgers' farm team in Montreal, was permitted to go to Atlanta to serve as the Crackers' new player-manager, thereby effecting the first player-for-announcer "trade" in major league history. Harwell would remain as a third man in the Dodgers' booth through the 1949 season.

Red Barber 1949
As head of CBS Sports and host of his television program, Red Barber's Club House, 1949.

While running CBS Sports, Barber became the mentor of another redheaded announcer. He recruited the Fordham University graduate Vin Scully for CBS football coverage, and eventually invited him into the Dodgers' broadcast booth to succeed Harwell in 1950 after the latter's departure for the crosstown New York Giants.

Barber was the first person outside the team's board of directors to be told by Branch Rickey that the Dodgers had begun the process of racial desegregation in baseball, which led to signing Jackie Robinson as the first black player in the major leagues after the 1880s. As a Southerner, having lived with racial segregation as a fact of life written into law, Barber told Rickey that he was not sure he could broadcast the games. As was related in a biography of Branch Rickey by Jimmy Breslin, Barber left the meeting with Rickey and walked for hours trying to decide his future. Having been raised in the racially segregated South, and having attended the University of Florida, which, at the time of his attendance was limited to white male students,[2] he had in his words, "been carefully taught", and the thought of broadcasting games played by a Negro player was simply too much for him to agree to. He arrived home and informed his wife of his decision to quit that very night. She, also being from the Deep South, had become accustomed to a much better life in a toney neighborhood of Westchester County. She convinced him that there was no need to quit then, and a few martinis into the evening, he said he would try.[3] After observing Robinson's skill on the field and the way Robinson held up to the vicious abuse from opposing fans, Barber became an ardent supporter of him and the black players who followed, including Dodger stars Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe. (This story is told in Barber's 1982 book, 1947: When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball.)

During this period, Barber also broadcast numerous World Series for Mutual radio and in 1948 and 1952 for NBC television, frequently teaming with Yankees announcer Mel Allen. He also called New York Giants football from 1942 to 1946, as well as several professional and college football games on network radio and TV, including the NFL Championship Game, Army–Navy Game and Orange Bowl.

New York Yankees

Prior to the 1953 World Series, Barber was selected by Gillette, which sponsored the Series broadcasts, to call the games on NBC along with Mel Allen. Barber wanted a larger fee than was offered by Gillette, however, and when Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley refused to back him, Barber declined to work the Series and Vin Scully partnered with Allen on the telecasts instead. As Barber later related in his 1968 autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat, he was rankled by O'Malley's lack of support, and this – along with a dispute over the renewal of Barber's $50,000 a year contract – led to his departure from the Dodgers' booth later that October.

Soon afterward the crosstown Yankees hired Barber. Just before the start of the 1954 season, surgery resulted in permanent deafness in one ear. In 1955, he took his long-running television program Red Barber's Corner from CBS to NBC. It ran from 1949 until 1958.

With the Yankees, Barber strove to adopt a strictly neutral, dispassionately reportorial broadcast style, avoiding not only partisanship but also any emotional surges that would match the excitement of the fans. He'd already had a reputation as a "fair" announcer while with the Dodgers, as opposed to a "homer" who openly rooted for his team from the booth. Some fans and critics found this later, more restrained Barber to be dull, especially in contrast with Mel Allen's dramatic, emotive style.

Barber described the ways they covered long fly balls as one of the central differences between Allen and himself. Allen would watch the ball. Thus his signature call, "That ball is going, going, it is GONE!", sometimes turned into, "It is going ... to be caught!" or "It is going ... foul!" Barber would watch the outfielder, his movements and his eyes, and would thus be a better judge whether the ball would be caught. This is evident in his famous call of Gionfriddo's catch (quoted above). Many announcers say "back, back, back" describing the ball's flight. On the Gionfriddo call Barber is describing the action of the outfielder, not the ball.

Curt Smith, in his book Voices of Summer, summarized the difference between Barber and Allen: "Barber was white wine, crepes suzette, and bluegrass music. Allen was hot dogs, beer, and the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Like Millay, Barber was a poet. Like Sinatra, Allen was a balladeer. Detached, Red reported. Involved, Mel roared."[4]

Under the ownership of CBS in 1966, the Yankees finished tenth and last, their first time at the bottom of the standings since 1912 and after more than 40 years of dominating the American League. On September 22, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium.[5] Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. WPIX refused to do so, on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations. Undeterred, Barber said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game." In a case of exceptionally bad timing, that game was the first for CBS executive Mike Burke as team president. A week later, Barber was invited to breakfast with Burke, who told him that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the season.

Later life

After his dismissal by the Yankees in 1966, Barber retired from baseball broadcasting. He wrote several books, including his autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat; contributed to occasional sports documentary programs on radio and television, including Ken Burns' documentary Baseball; and from 1981 until his death made weekly contributions to National Public Radio's Morning Edition program. Each Friday Barber, speaking from his home in Tallahassee, Florida, would talk with host Bob Edwards, usually about sports but frequently about other topics, including the flora around his home. Barber would address Edwards as "Colonel Bob", referring to the Kentucky Colonel honorific given to Edwards by his native state.

Red Barber died in 1992 in Tallahassee, Florida. In 1993, Edwards' book Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship (ISBN 0-671-87013-0), based on his Morning Edition segments with Barber, was published.


Red Barber and family 1950
Barber with wife Lylah and daughter Sarah, 1950.

The National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association inducted Barber into its Hall of Fame in 1973. In 1978, Barber joined former colleague Mel Allen to become the first broadcasters to receive the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. In 1979, he was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Florida, given a Gold Award by the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and inducted into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame. In 1984, Barber was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Don Dunphy, Ted Husing, Bill Stern and Graham McNamee. Barber was given a George Polk Award in 1985 and a Peabody Award in 1990 for his NPR broadcasts, and in 1995 he was posthumously inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

In 1993, TV Guide named Barber the best sportscaster of the 1950s.[6]

In 1994, two years after his death, Barber was seen several times throughout the Ken Burns series Baseball as he recounted memorable episodes of baseball history, especially of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Red Barber Radio Scholarship is awarded each year by the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications to a student studying sports broadcasting.

A WRUF microphone used by Barber during the 1930s is part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's collection. It has been displayed in the museum's "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit, and from 2002 to 2006 it was featured as part of the "Baseball as America" traveling exhibition.

In popular culture

Barber is mentioned in "The Catbird Seat", a 1942 short story by James Thurber. A female character in the story likes to use the titular expression as well as such phrases as "tearing up the pea patch" and "hollering down the rain barrel", prompting another character to suggest that she picked them up from listening to Barber's Dodger radio broadcasts. (Ironically enough, according to Barber's daughter, her father did not begin using the "catbird seat" phrase until after he had read the story.)

In 1957 Barber appeared as himself in "Hillbilly Whiz", a third-season episode of The Phil Silvers Show.

In the 2013 film 42, which dramatizes Jackie Robinson breaking the major leagues' color barrier with the Dodgers, Barber is played by John C. McGinley.

In the 2015 television series Manhattan (Series 1, Episode 11), a character asks another if they have "been watching Red Barber" after the latter's foreign accent has improved to sound more American, suggesting that is where she learned to improve it.

Books by Red Barber

  • Barber, Red (1954). The Rhubarb Patch: The Story of the Modern Brooklyn Dodgers. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Barber, Red; Creamer, Robert (1968). Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-8032-6136-5.
  • Barber, Red (1969). Walk in the Spirit: Inspiring Men, Moments and Credos from a Lifetime of Sports Reporting. New York: Dial Press.
  • Barber, Red (1970). The Broadcasters. New York: Dial Press. ISBN 0-306-80260-0.
  • Barber, Red (1971). Show Me the Way to Go Home. Philadelphia: Westminster John Knox. ISBN 0-664-20901-7.
  • Barber, Red (1982). 1947: When All Hell Broke Loose in Baseball. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-17762-3.

See also


  1. ^ "Current Biography". 1943: 26–27.
  2. ^ History of Florida State University#Buckman Act
  3. ^ "Branch Rickey" Viking Press-Penguin LIVES series, pub. 2011
  4. ^ Smith, Curt (2005). Voices of Summer: Ranking Baseball's 101 All-Time Best Announcers. New York: Carroll & Graf.
  5. ^ Retrosheet Boxscore: Chicago White Sox 4, New York Yankees 1
  6. ^ "All-Time Best TV". TV Guide: 61. April 17–23, 1993.

Further reading

  • Edwards, Bob (1993). Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship. New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-87013-0.

External links

1939 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1939 Brooklyn Dodgers started the year with a new manager, Leo Durocher, who became both the team's manager and starting shortstop. They also became the first New York NL team to have a regular radio broadcast, with Red Barber handing the announcers job, and the first team to have a television broadcast (during their August 26 home game doubleheaders against the Reds, both of which WNBT covered for the NBC network). The team finished in third place, showing some improvement over the previous seasons.

1948 World Series

The 1948 World Series saw the Cleveland Indians against the Boston Braves. The Braves had won the National League pennant for the first time since the "Miracle Braves" team of 1914, while the Indians had spoiled a chance for the only all-Boston World Series by winning a one-game playoff against the Boston Red Sox for the American League flag. Though superstar pitcher Bob Feller failed to win either of his two starts, the Indians won the Series in six games to capture their second championship and their first since 1920 (as well as their last to the present date).

It was the first World Series to be televised beyond the previous year's limited New York-Schenectady-Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington network and was announced by famed sportcasters Red Barber, Tom Hussey (in Boston) and Van Patrick (in Cleveland). This was the second appearance in the Fall Classic for both teams, with the Indians' lone previous appearance coming in a 1920 win against the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Braves' lone previous appearance coming in a 1914 win against the Philadelphia Athletics. Consequently, this was the first, and to date only, World Series in which both participating teams had previously played in, but not yet lost, a previous World Series. Currently, this phenomenon can only be repeated if either the Miami Marlins or the Arizona Diamondbacks play against either the Toronto Blue Jays or the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a future World Series.

Television coverage of the World Series increased this year, but due to the medium still being in its infancy coverage was strictly regional. Games played in Boston could only be seen in the Northeast, while when the series shifted to Cleveland those games were the first to be aired in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Detroit and Toledo.

This was the only World Series from 1947 to 1958 not to feature a New York team, and also the last World Series until 1957 not won by a New York team (which the Braves won over the Yankees, after they had relocated to Milwaukee). The teams would meet again in the 1995 World Series won by the Braves—by then relocated to Atlanta. This was the first World Series and the last until 2016 where the series score was even.

1959 New York Yankees season

The 1959 New York Yankees season was the 57th season for the team in New York and its 59th overall. The team finished in third place in the American League with a record of 79–75, 15 games behind the Chicago White Sox. New York was managed by Casey Stengel. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

1966 New York Yankees season

The 1966 New York Yankees season was the 64th season for the Yankees. The team finished with a record of 70–89, finishing 26.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. New York was managed by Johnny Keane and Ralph Houk. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. Keane managed his final MLB game in early-May, and died the following January at the age of 55.

The Yankees finished in 10th place, although arguably a "strong" tenth. It was the first time they had finished in last place since 1912, their last year at the Hilltop.

On September 22, paid attendance of 413 was announced at the 65,000-seat Yankee Stadium. WPIX announcer Red Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees' head of media relations, he said, "I don't know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game." By a horrible stroke of luck, that game was the first for CBS executive Mike Burke as team president. A week later, Barber was invited to breakfast where Burke told him that his contract wouldn't be renewed.

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. 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.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.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.

Bill Stern

Bill Stern (July 1, 1907 – November 19, 1971) was a U.S. actor and sportscaster who announced the nation's first remote sports broadcast and the first telecast of a baseball game. In 1984, Stern was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Red Barber, Don Dunphy, Ted Husing and Graham McNamee. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame (1988) and has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Billy Loes

William Loes (December 13, 1929 – July 15, 2010) was an American right-handed pitcher who spent eleven seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1950, 1952–56), Baltimore Orioles (1956–59) and San Francisco Giants (1960–61). He appeared in three World Series with the Dodgers, including the only one won by the franchise when it was based in Brooklyn in 1955.

In an 11-season career, Loes posted an 80–63 record with 645 strikeouts and a 3.89 ERA in 1190.1 innings pitched. He made the American League All-Star team in 1957.

Among Major League Baseball's video archives is a television broadcast of the sixth game of the 1952 World Series, of which Loes was one of the starting pitchers. During the game, announcer Red Barber states that Loes was the son of Greek immigrants who had changed his last name. Further, says Barber, Loes would not tell Barber what his original last name was because, according to Loes, Barber would be unable to pronounce, spell or remember that name.

Loes distinguished himself in several ways in the 1952 World Series. When asked how the Dodgers would fare, he predicted the Yankees would win in seven, but was misquoted as saying the Yankees would win in six. During the sixth game, he became the first pitcher in World Series history to commit a balk. In the seventh inning, he was starting his windup when the ball dropped from his hand. "Too much spit on it", he said later. Then a grounder hit by Yankee pitcher Vic Raschi bounced off his leg for a single, allowing a run to score. Afterward, he said he lost the ground ball in the sun.

Loes said that he did not want to be a 20-game winner, "because then I'd be expected to do it every year." His career high in wins came in 1953, when he went 14–8 for the pennant-winning Dodgers.

Catbird seat

"The catbird seat" is an American English idiomatic phrase used to describe an enviable position, often in terms of having the upper hand or greater advantage in any type of dealing among parties. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded usage occurred in a 1942 humorous short story by James Thurber titled "The Catbird Seat," which features a character, Mrs. Barrows, who likes to use the phrase. Another character, Joey Hart, explains that Mrs. Barrows must have picked up the expression from Red Barber, the baseball broadcaster, and that to Barber "sitting in the catbird seat" meant "'sitting pretty,' like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him."

The phrase "In the catbird seat" was among the numerous folksy expressions used by Barber. According to Barber's daughter, after her father read Thurber's story, he began using the phrase "in the catbird seat." This seems to reverse events, however, as the passage of story quoted above clearly references Barber. According to "Colonel" Bob Edwards's book Fridays with Red, Barber claimed that Thurber got this and many other expressions from him, and that Barber had first heard the term used during a poker game in Cincinnati during the Great Depression. Barber also put forth this version of events in his 1968 autobiography, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat.Further usage can be found in P. G. Wodehouse's 1958 novel Cocktail Time: "I get you. If we swing it, we'll be sitting pretty, 'In the catbird seat.'"

According to Douglas Harper's Online Etymological Dictionary, the phrase refers to the gray catbird and was used in the 19th century in the American South.Ken Harrelson, the play-by-play TV broadcaster for the Chicago White Sox, has been often heard referencing "the catbird seat" during games.

In entertainment

1948: Season 1, Episode 5 of the Actors Studio was called "The Catbird Seat"

1978: The original television series Dallas featured J.R. Ewing using this phrase quite often.

1987: Raising Arizona included John Goodman saying "you and I'll be sittin' in the fabled catbird seat."

1988: William L. Marbury Jr. called his memoirs In the Catbird Seat (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1988)

2009: Steve Forbert digitally released an album, Loose Change, that included a song he wrote called "The Catbird Seat"

2018-present: Shannon Sharpe uses this phrase on Skip and Shannon: Undisputed while debating with Skip Bayless, Sharpe uses the phrase often to explain who has the upper hand in the sport example "Patrick Mahomeboy is in the catbird seat for MVP".Indianapolis sports radio hosts Query and Schultz, of 1260 WNDE, frequently use the phrase to describe teams in an enviable position.

It is also often used by various NASCAR broadcasters to refer to a driver in a pivotal, valuable position, such as the leader, the last driver to be guaranteed into an event, or a driver utilizing a risky strategy that may bring them to victory.

When used in the sense of a lookout, it can be considered a euphemism for the nautical term "crow's nest" that is used on sailing ships.

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.

Don Dunphy

Don Dunphy (July 5, 1908 – July 22, 1998) was an American television and radio sports announcer specializing in boxing broadcasts. Dunphy was noted for his fast-paced delivery and enthusiasm for the sport. It is estimated that he did "blow-by-blow" action for over 2,000 fights. The Friday Night Fights were broadcast every Friday evening from (radio and television (1939–1981) 9 P.M. to 10:45 P.M on ABC.

In 1984, Dunphy was part of the American Sportscasters Association Hall of Fame's inaugural class which included sportscasting legends Red Barber, Ted Husing, Graham McNamee and Bill Stern. He was also a member of the organization's Board of Directors. He was elected in 1986 to the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

Dunphy was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1988 and had a memorable cameo appearance in the 1971 Woody Allen movie Bananas. He appears as the commentator in the 1977 biopic of Muhammad Ali, "The Greatest". He also called all of the fights in the 1980 United Artists film Raging Bull, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. In 1982, he won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Broadcasting Journalism in boxing. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Dunphy was a star track athlete and went on to graduate from Manhattan College in 1930. In 1984, he was inducted into the Manhattan College Athletic Hall of Fame.His son, Don Dunphy Jr., was an executive producer of Eyewitness News on WABC-TV in New York City in its early years, and later became vice president of news services at ABC. His other son, Bob Dunphy, has been a director of Showtime Championship Boxing since 1989. In 2015 he directed the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history.

He is buried in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury, New York.

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.

List of New York Yankees broadcasters

As one of the most successful clubs in Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees are also one of its oldest teams. Part of that success derives to its radio and television broadcasts that have been running beginning in 1939 when the first radio transmissions were broadcast from the old stadium, and from 1947 when television broadcasts began. They have been one of the pioneer superstation broadcasts when WPIX became a national superstation in 1978 and were the first American League team to broadcast their games on cable, both first in 1978 and later on in 1979, when Sportschannel NY (now MSG Plus) began broadcasting Yankees games to cable subscribers. Today, the team can be heard and/or seen in its gameday broadcasts during the baseball season on:

TV: YES Network or WPIX channel 11 in New York

Radio: WFAN 660AM and WFAN-FM 101.9 FM in New York; New York Yankees Radio Network; WADO 1280 AM (Spanish) (Cadena Radio Yankees)Longest serving Yankee broadcasters (all-time with 10+ years)

Phil Rizzuto (40 yrs), John Sterling (31 yrs), Mel Allen (30 yrs), Michael Kay (28 yrs), Bobby Murcer (22 yrs), Ken Singleton (23 yrs), Frank Messer (18 yrs), Bill White (18 yrs), Suzyn Waldman (15 yrs), Red Barber (13 yrs), Jim Kaat (13 yrs), Al Trautwig (12 yrs)

List of World Series broadcasters

The following is a list of national American television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast World Series games over the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

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.

Major League Baseball on the radio

Major League Baseball on the radio has been a tradition for almost 80 years, and still exists today. Baseball was one of the first sports to be broadcast in the United States. Every team in Major League Baseball has a flagship station, and baseball is also broadcast on national radio.

Shot Heard 'Round the World (baseball)

In baseball, the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" was a game-winning home run by New York Giants outfielder and third baseman Bobby Thomson off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds in New York City on October 3, 1951, to win the National League (NL) pennant. Thomson's dramatic three-run homer came in the ninth inning of the decisive third game of a three-game playoff for the pennant in which the Giants trailed, 4–1.The game—the first ever televised nationally—was seen by millions of viewers across America and heard on radio by millions more, including thousands of American servicemen stationed in Korea, listening on Armed Forces Radio. The classic drama of snatching victory from defeat to secure a pennant was intensified by the epic cross-town rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers, and by a remarkable string of victories in the last weeks of the regular season by the Giants, who won 37 of their last 44 games to catch the first-place Dodgers and force a playoff series to decide the NL champion. The Giants' late-season rally and 2-to-1-game playoff victory, capped by Thomson's moment of triumph, are collectively known in baseball lore as "The Miracle of Coogan's Bluff", a descriptor coined by the legendary sports columnist Red Smith.The phrase "shot heard 'round the world" is from the poem "Concord Hymn" (1837) by Ralph Waldo Emerson about the first clash of the American Revolutionary War. It later became popularly associated with Thomson's homer and several other dramatic historical moments.

Van Patrick

Van Patrick (August 15, 1916 – September 29, 1974) was an American sportscaster, best known for his play-by-play work with the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers.

Patrick called Lions games from 1950 until his death in 1974 He had two stints with the Tigers, broadcasting for the team for one season in 1949 and then again from 1952 to 1959.During the 1960s and 1970s, Patrick was sports director for the Mutual Broadcasting System and broadcast Notre Dame football and Monday Night Football for the network. He also did TV sports news segments during news broadcasts on Detroit's WJBK-TV. He had superb knowledge of both football and baseball, and was widely admired for his broadcasting skills during his radio heyday. He did not make the transition to television well, as he was naturally bald and insisted on wearing a very inexpensive toupée in television appearances. "Van Patrick's toupée" was a source of many jokes in the Detroit area during that period.

He graduated from Texas Christian University (TCU), where he played football with future Washington Redskins quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Baugh. He also played baseball and basketball at TCU.

After graduating, he began his broadcast career as a baseball play-by-play announcer in various minor leagues, including the International League, the Texas League and the old Southern Association. His first major league play-by-play broadcasting was with the world-champion-to-be Cleveland Indians in 1948. He also called the World Series along with celebrated sportscaster Red Barber. Game 2 of that Series announced by Patrick, won by the Indians, made television history. Telecast live from Braves Field in Boston, it was shown aboard the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Marylander passenger train travelling between Washington, D.C. and New York City using a receiver operated by Bendix Corporation technicians. An Associated Press reporter observing the demonstration said, "Technically, it was surprisingly good."From 1949 to 1953, Patrick was sports director at Detroit station WJR. Of special note, on March 8, 1971, Van, along with Mutual colleague Charles King, handled the live broadcast of the Frazier-Ali “Fight of the Century” round-by-round summaries as they came out over the wire services . At the time of his death in 1974, he owned four radio stations. He died of cancer while preparing to call a Notre Dame football game in South Bend, Indiana.


WRUF (850 AM) is a radio station that operates from the University of Florida's main campus in Gainesville, broadcasting at 850 kHz. WRUF is a sports station. Unlike its public sister stations, WUFT-TV and WUFT-FM, WRUF is a commercial station and, despite being state-run, is run no differently from privately owned commercial stations.

The station signed on in October 1928 and is the fifth-oldest station in the state.

WRUF featured a mixture of local and syndicated programs, including Jim Bohannon, Dr. Joy Browne, Larry King Live and Sporting News Radio, plus religious programming on Sunday mornings, including Bill Gaither, the The Director of Programming is Rob Harder, Assistant Program Director/Brand Manager is Brett Holcomb and the Sports Director is Steve Russell.

WRUF's sports news departments, staffed almost entirely by School of Journalism students, are fairly large for a station of its size; by at least one account it has the largest local radio news department in Florida.

A WRUF microphone used by UF alumnus Red Barber during the 1930s is part of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum's collection. It has been displayed in the museum's "Scribes and Mikemen" exhibit and from 2002 to 2006 it was a part of the "Baseball as America" traveling exhibition.

In 2010, WRUF changed their format from news and talk (previously in existence since 1993 and known as Newsradio AM 850 WRUF) to sports (Sportsradio 850) and on June 29, 2012, WRUF received the ESPN Radio affiliation. The station is an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays radio network, and Tampa Bay Lightning. It is the flagship station for the Florida Gators football, basketball, baseball, women's basketball, lacrosse, soccer and volleyball.

On August 19, 2015, WRUF began simulcasting on FM translator W237EJ 95.3 FM in Gainesville. It exists mainly to fill in the gaps when the main signal must adjust its coverage to protect a glut of clear-channel stations on adjacent channels. Shortly afterward, the station changed its branding from "ESPN 850" to "ESPN 95.3," after the translator.

On December 1, 2016, WRUF switched its FM translator from W237EJ 95.3 FM Gainesville (now simulcasting WUFT-HD3 as CHR-formatted GHQ) to W251CG 98.1 FM Gainesville.

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