Advent of regional rail service made baseball possible
Produced in concert with Major League Baseball and narrated by actor James Stewart and broadcaster Curt Gowdy, the album had everything ball fans would have expected, from Russ Hodges’ heart-pounding call of Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard Round the World to Vin Scully’s rhythmic, exquisitely paced description of Sandy Koufax striking out Harvey Kuenn to compete the Dodger legend’s perfect game.
It also had some surprises, including a scratchy recording of an aging ballplayer from the 19th century reminiscing about the days when teams depended on America’s railways to get from city to city.
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McCormack, as part of his job, has become a student of how teams traveled in the days before airports came into everyday use.
“That’s why Monday off-days came to be, because teams on the east were traveling to the west – Chicago and St. Louis,” McCormack said. “So you’d have those Sunday doubleheaders before making those 12 to 15-hour trips.
“I think it would be fun,” McCormack said. “It does get a little nostalgic, to me and to some of the players as well. I was thinking about that a while back when we were at the train station and there was a guy shouting, ‘Allllllll aboarddddd!’ and then, bango, you’re off in five seconds.
“It reminded me that we were doing something from days gone by. It was a good feeling.”
Steve Buckley is a senior writer for The Athletic