39° Good Morning
39° Good Morning

It's brand-new ballgame for TV coverage since Mets' first World Series

Curt Gowdy as he did a sports broadcast

Curt Gowdy as he did a sports broadcast direct from his bedroom on second floor of his 194 Oakland Street, Wellesly, Mass. home, June 21, 1957. Credit: AP / GREEN

The World Series first was televised in 1947. The Yankees defeated the Dodgers that fall, which was convenient, because a disproportionate number of the TVs in existence at the time were in the New York area.

By the time the Mets reached their first Fall Classic 22 years later, the art of broadcasting them had come a long way, and Games 3, 4 and 5 -- the oldest known color recordings of Series games in existence -- are reasonably evolved.

Well, OK, they are reasonably evolved for those old enough to remember watching them live. People under 50 might just snicker.

Anyway, thanks to the fact that the Mets qualify only every once in a great while, their past half-century -- with visits to the Series in 1969, 1973, 1986, 2000 and now 2015 -- offers an instructive stroll through TV baseball history.

For example, in '69, every game was played during the day, with Games 3, 4 and 5 on weekdays. That was good for the communal experience of trying to follow the action at school and/or work, but bad for actually seeing any action.

Curt Gowdy was NBC's play-by-play man in 1969, and also when the Mets returned in '73. The historical connection there is that his son, Curt Gowdy Jr., has been a top executive with SNY, the partly-Mets-owned TV channel, since its inception.

Speaking of SNY, many fans of the regular Mets booth of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling wish they could be a part of the national TV coverage of the Series, but the system is not set up that way.

As many older fans recall, it did partly work that way in olden times. In both '69 and '73, Lindsey Nelson, one of the trio of original Mets announcers along with Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner, actually joined Gowdy in the booth for the Mets' home games in the World Series.

(Just as the Orioles' Bill O'Donnell did in '69 and the A's Monte Moore did in '73.)

The analysts for the pregame show in '69 were from the top of the A-list: Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle!

By 1986, NBC no longer was the exclusive home of the World Series, but that year it did have a turn, with Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola in the booth and Len Berman and Commack's own Bob Costas as reporters.

The move of World Series games from daytime to prime time was complete by then, as reflected in ratings that never will be matched in a 21st century era of lower viewership.

Game 7 of that Series, in which you might recall the Mets outlasting the Red Sox, averaged 38.9 percent of homes nationally. Only the Super Bowl does numbers like that these days.

Certainly the most memorable moment of that Series, and the most memorable call, was Scully noting that Mookie Wilson had hit a "little roller up along first."

You know the rest. After Bill Buckner had his issues with said roller and Ray Knight scored the winning run, Scully waited a long time to speak as the pictures told the improbable story.

Then he said, "If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words."

After a long period of jumping around among networks, the World Series landed at Fox exclusively in 2000, when the Mets and Yankees played the first Subway Series since 1956.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver handled the game, with Bob Brenly as part of the crew. He did not return for 2001 because he was too busy managing the Diamondbacks to a seven-game victory over the Yankees at the time.

The 2000 trophy presentation was handled by Keith Olbermann for the one and only time.

Buck still will be at the mic when the Mets visit the Royals for the start of the 2015 Series on Tuesday night, now with Harold Reynolds and former Newsday baseball writer Tom Verducci beside him.

The technical aspects of the telecast will include wizardry unimaginable in 1969, let alone 1947. But some things never change.

Much as NBC did in '69 with Koufax and Mantle, Fox went for big names to join its pregame and postgame coverage, including Pete Rose and the Yankees' Alex Rodriguez.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports