Summer 1995: The Way Things Used to Be

December 17, 1936 Sporting News: The American League adopts a uniform radio contract, under which all stations broadcasting from AL parks are forbidden from allowing their announcers to criticize umpires, managers, tactics, scoring decisions and the like.

May 16, 1951 Sporting News: Walter O'Malley on Cardinals owner Fred Saigh's proposal for sharing local TV money: "That is a socialistic theory, pure and simple. All he asks is to share in the other fellow's enterprise." Saigh's response: "Division of television income is absolutely no different than splitting the game income." O'Malley retorts: "Why doesn't he campaign for a bigger cut for visitors from park admissions, which is still pegged at an archaic 25 cents or so on any price ticket." In 1952 Bill Veeck, owner of the Browns, takes up the cause, but capitulates after the Yankees and other teams hit him in the wallet by refusing to schedule lucrative home night games against the Browns.

March 9, 1955 Sporting News: Commissioner Ford Frick asks teams to instruct their broadcasters not to read commercials during innings and to stop calling home runs "Ballantine Blasts, or any other commercial designation so dear to the tonsils of the broadcasting fraternity."

April 25, 1964 Sporting News: As the Dodgers and Giants prepare to experiment with pay TV, Tony Kubek says the players want a share: "We ought to get a piece of the extra money from pay-TV, since we are the performers who make the show go." Players' counsel Judge Robert Cannon criticizes Kubek's stance, calling his comments "unfortunate." Cannon explains: "Pay-TV could be a giant with tremendous effect on their lives. But this is hardly the time to pose a threat." Cannon, whose attitude toward his ostensible clients led several owners to tout him as the next Commissioner, never explained why the owners would be "threatened" into abandoning a near-costless source of extra money by the thought of sharing part of it with the players.

Compiled by Doug Pappas. All rights reserved.
Originally published in the Summer 1995 issue of Outside the Lines, the SABR Business of Baseball Committee newsletter.

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