“Sing a song of sixpence, and eke of dollar bills,” he wrote in a poetic ditty, published October 3rd, 1922 in The Post-Star of Glens Falls. “Four and thirty thousand fans, paying for their thrills.”
Readers of The Post-Star had been enjoying the columns of Rice, of the New York Tribune, for years.
This year, they would hear his voice.
“For the first time in the history of baseball, Glens Falls fans will be given the privilege of receiving the returns of the World’s Series games by radio,” The Post-Star reported on October 4th, 1922. “The Post-Star, in keeping with its policy of progressiveness, having completed arrangement for the games by this method.”
Rice was the announcer.
Morf and Galusha, a local electrical sales and service business on Maple Street, had set up at radio system and speakers at offices, to transmit play-by-play coverage of the radio broadcast of the World Series games between the New York Yankees and New York Giants, played at The Polo Grounds, which that year was home field to both teams.
“A Western Electric loud speaking attachment, the best in the market, will be used.”
It was breaking technology for The Post-Star, which also continued its long-time tradition of updating a huge bulletin board outside its offices as inning-by-inning updates came across the Associated Press wire.
It is doubtful The Post-Star editors could have envisioned that 50 years later youngsters would be listening to World Series games on transistor radios, or about a century later watching the action on I-phones.
The broadcast, the first broadcast of an entire World Series, by WJZ of Newark, N.J., owned by Westinghouse, was relayed to WGY of Schenectady, owned by General Electric Corp.
Both stations’ signals could regularly be picked up in Glens Falls at the time, along with KDKA of Pittsburgh.
An estimated 1.5 million fans in radio markets around the eastern United States were expected to tune in.
“Mr. Rice’s voice will be radiated through the ether to the greatest audience ever assembled,” the New York Tribune reported on October 2nd, 1922. “It will be picked up in the Polo Grounds by a specially designed microphone and carried to Newark over the special wires set apart by the Western Union Telegraph Co.”
Rice, in a column published October 4th, 1922 in The Post-Star, described it this way: “Telegraph and cable wires radiate from the Polo Grounds to all points of the compass. … Thousands of fans who will never see the inside of the baseball coliseum during the series will follow every play from these boards or radio description service to be broadcast miles beyond the site of the Giants’ stadium.”
The crowd listening in outside The Post-Star offices at the corner of Glen and Park streets were excited with the technology, but not with the performance of the Yankees, which, despite having Babe Ruth in the lineup, lost the opening game 3-2.
“A large number of persons witnessed the game ‘played’ locally on The Post-Star board, but it can hardly be said that the majority of fans were satisfied with the outcome of the battle,” The Post-Star reported on October 5th. “The two Yankees runs brought numerous cheers from those watching the game’s progress, but when the clan of McGraw (the Giants’ manager) knotted the count, the cheers gave way to groans, for the Yankees undoubtedly ruled as prime favorites.”
Yankees fans would continue to be disappointed, as the Giants swept the series with four wins and a tie.
Umpires stopped the second game at the end of the tenth inning because of darkness.
Read more about sports history in New York here.
Photo: Crowds watch Game 1 of the 1922 World Series at the Polo Grounds on October 4 1922 (courtesy Library of Congress).