Sound on Paper
“The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
Harwell was thinking philosophically as he drove in from his home in Larchmont: “I felt a little sorry for my Giant broadcasting partner that day. Ole’ Russ is going to be stuck on the radio, there were five radio broadcasts and I was gonna’ be on coast-to-coast TV and I thought that I had the plum assignment.” The two men alternated days in the first coast-to-coast televised sports broadcast – Harwell had games one and three.
“Well, as you remember it turned out quite differently,” Harwell remembered in his 1981 Frick Award acceptance speech. “Russ Hodges’ record became the most famous sports broadcast of all time, television, no instant replay, no recordings in those days, and only Mrs. Harwell knows that I did the telecast of Bobby Thomson’s home run.”
The taping incident is a lesson for historians in the use and interpretation of primary sources. Hodges would often recall that Goldberg was a Dodger fan, who wanted to have a recording of the game’s end in order to gloat over his Giant fan friends. Goldberg, however, the more primary source on his own urge to tape, told Sandomir that he was a lifelong Giants fan.
On Oct. 4, Goldberg wrote to Hodges and asked him if he had a tape of the call and offered to lend his tape if needed. Hodges borrowed the tape and made records of it as a Christmas gift for friends – Note: If anyone reading this has one of those records, the Hall would love to add it to our collection. Later, Chesterfield Cigarettes, mentioned in the half inning and one of the broadcast’s sponsors, asked to make copies for marketing purposes. Goldberg was paid $100 and given access to Chesterfield’s box at the Polo Grounds for the 1952 season. Hodges himself sent Goldberg a nice thank you gift – a reel of blank tape – probably not inexpensive or easy to come by in those days.