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Listen to Vin Scully call Cubs vs. Dodgers game from 1957

By bullpenbrian at 03.01.2013 1 comment.

Vin Scully

I could hardly wait to share the gem I discovered this week at archive.org. Available under ‘Old Time Radio Programs’ is a free download of a radio broadcast between the Cubs and Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field on
June 4, 1957.

You can listen to the game by clicking here.

The download is of the Dodgers’ broadcast and begins with Jerry Doggett, the radio man who joined the Dodgers’ booth in 1956 (and stayed with the team until 1987).

At the 7:00 mark Doggett turns the duties over to his long-time partner, and legendary play-by-play man, Vin Scully, who began his accomplished career with the Dodgers in 1950 (unbelievable!).

I was giddy with excitement to hear Scully’s voice crackle through the speakers, and he begins by informing the audience he’s just spilled a cup of coffee in his lap, and on a suite fresh from the cleaners no less!

On this Tuesday afternoon, the Cubs (who would go on to lose 92 games that year) fell to the Dodgers 7-5. The starting pitching matchup featured two players with ties to the Queen City. Cubs starter Dick Drott, a Cincinnati native, against a 21-year-old left-hander from the University of Cincinnati named Sandy Koufax. That, however, is where the similarities ended.

It didn’t take long for Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Roy Campanella to open up the scoring. Campanella, who would leave the game in the third inning after being plunked in the ribs by a pitch (which we’re later informed during the broadcast the team doctor says the catcher is ‘ok’), doubled home Snider and Hodges in the bottom of the first. The Dodgers plated another run in the inning and then scored three more runs in the third, including a solo HR by Snider, to knock Drott out of the game.

Hodges went deep in the fifth extending Brooklyn’s lead to 7-0 after five innings. The Cubs finally broke through against Koufax in the sixth on a line drive, 2-R HR by left fielder Bob Speake. Ernie Banks (.285, 43 HR, 102 RBI), now in his fifth season with Chicago, turned the trick two innings later taking Koufax deep for a 3-R HR, which concluded the scoring for the afternoon.

Koufax (4-2) earned the win lasting 7.2 innings allowing 5-ER on 4 hits. He walked 5 and struck out 12, fanning Banks in his first two at-bats. The eventual Hall of Fame pitcher, who started just 13 games in this season, finished the campaign (5-4, 3.88). Four years later he blossomed into one of the most dominating left-handed pitchers of all time.

The 1957 season was the Dodgers’ (84-70) final chapter in Brooklyn. Ebbets Field closed in Sept. after the season ended and was later demolished in 1960. And for those of you wondering, Jackie Robinson had already retired the year prior in 1956.

I wasn’t able to catch the entire broadcast, which lasts 3 hours & 2 minutes, and is why I included the game recap so you can skip along to hear some of the more exciting game action (the advertisement are a treat to listen to as well).

But whatever time you do have available, it’s well worth the listen, even though the Cubs lost. But, we’re use to that by now anyway.

Ebbets Field


1 Comment

  1. NormR says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I attended a few games at Ebbets Field in person that year as a kid, so your audio was quite nostalgic for me.

    As for the logistics of the broadcast itself, yes, there was Scully, sounding pretty much the way he always has and still pretty much does. He was the first baseball announcer with whom I became familiar. He even did that signature “pull up a chair” line in the first inning (inviting listeners to relax and spend some time with his broadcast ) which many years later became the title of his biography. In this broadcast, he did something I thought was quite amusing, and would be thought of as such back then, but would get a sports announcer in big trouble nowadays. After Roy Campanella had to leave the game with an injury suffered when he was hit by a pitch while batting, Scully realized that his likely replacement as the Dodgers’ catcher would be third-stringer Joe Pignatano, who was married and lived in Brooklyn. It would be Pignatano’s first appearance in the major leagues (other than a previous one as a pinch runner). So Scully urged anyone in his audience who knew Mrs. Pignatano to phone her to alert her to what her husband was unexpectedly about to do so that she could see him on TV or listen in on radio.

    Aside from Scully and the long deceased Doggett (who later moved to LA with Scully and continued to be his sidekick with the Dodgers for many years), there was a third announcer in that booth back in 1957: Al Helfer. Helfer was a big fat guy who appears briefly in your audio doing some between innings dialogue with Doggett, including Lucky Strike cigarette commercials. (Cigarette commercials have been prohibited over the air since 1970 but back then were a staple of many baseball broadcasts.) Helfer never moved to LA with the Dodgers, but later did some announcing for the Oakland Athletics and might have worked for another team or two. He too has been dead for quite some time.

    As to the game itself, it was, contrary to your piece, a NIGHT game and it would have started at 8:00 EDT. (7:00 CDT for Chicago fans). Ebbets Field had lights as far back as 1938, fifty years before Wrigley Field got them. The game was also poorly attended, despite the announcers’ prodding fans to come out to see the game if they were in the vicinity. The attendance announced in the ninth inning of the broadcast was a mere 9,300, which was less than a third of even the smallish park’s capacity. And the background fan noise correlated with a small crowd. I suppose that nights like that one helped seal the deal to move to LA. Another quibble with your post: Ebbets Field didn’t quite close following the Dodgers’ last season there. It was, in its last two years, the scene of a variety of events, including high school and college baseball, Dodgers’ tryouts of young players, soccer, and a demolition derby.

    As a Dodger fan in that year and having a very good memory of the NL players of that era, I was stumped by some of the names the Cubs had in their starting lineup: Jack Littrell, Frank Ernago, Cal Neeman (kind of confused Cal Neeman with Bob Nieman, who was not a catcher, to the best of my knowledge, and played mostly in the AL). I vaguely recalled the name Bob Speake, but only because he was traded in the spring a year later to the then SF Giants for Bobby Thomson, thus earning Speake a mention in books about the famous Thomson HR off Ralph Branca. (BTW, Branca was a personal friend of my late uncle.) I was also surprised that Ernie Banks would have been the third baseman rather than the shortstop for that game. And I hadn’t realized that Dale Long was with the Cubs at that time, thinking that he’d be with Pittsburgh. But as the broadcasters pointed out, Long had been traded that year from the Pirates to the Cubs for Dee Fondy in an exchange of well-known first basemen. It turns out that the two teams tied each other for last place, so you can’t really say that the trade was beneficial for either. (Real trivia: You might know that the name Dee Fondy came up in the movie “Rain Man” when the autistic Dustin Hoffman character was able to recall that Ted Kluzewski was traded from the Reds to the Pirates for him.) As for Dick Drott, the Cubs’ starting pitcher, he obviously had a bad game in the audio, but I think he ended up winning 15 for that tied-for-last team and he hung around for the Cubs a few more years.

    As for the Dodgers in that audio game, Sandy Koufax showed some signs of the pitcher he would later become. He had a no-hitter for five innings and ended up with 12 strikeouts. But he was still wild and walked too many batters in that game – five in all. He was leading the NL in strikeouts at that early point in the season, but he had no chance to continue along that way, because Alston didn’t let him pitch much the rest of that season for whatever reason, perhaps because he had more seasoned pitchers like Maglie, Newcombe. Erskine, and Podres, and also a very young Drysdale. That game was Koufax’s fourth win of the year, and he wound up with only five. Nevertheless, he still wound up averaging more than a strikeout per inning pitched. The Dodgers’ veteran position players that year were getting long in the tooth and frequently out of the lineup because of injuries, as illustrated in the audio game by the absence of PeeWee Reese and Carl Furillo from the starting lineup.

    Finally, a very unusual occurrence that night of June 4, 1957: all five of the NL’s future Hall of Fame sluggers active at the time – Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Duke Snider, Ernie Banks, and Stan Musial – homered in their respective games.

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