Sunday, April 3, 2011

Encore:Indians Broadcast History

With another new baseball season upon us, I thought we'd put up an encore post..with some slight updates, on Indians Broadcasting History..Originally posted in October 2007

TV Guide Ad for A Cleveland Indians-Chicago White Sox Game May 10, 1958..On WTRF-TV 7 Wheeling, W. Va. This was the CBS Game of the Week with announcers Dizzy Dean and Buddy Blattner. (White Sox won 5-4) TV Guide Ad for early 1970 Indians Game on WJW-TV 8. (Indians won 9-4) TV Guide Closeup for a Pirates/Philadelphia game on May 16, 1958. Pirate Network stations represented are KDKA 2 Pittsburgh, WJAC 6 Johnstown, Pa., WSTV 9 Steubenville, Oh, and WKST 45, New Castle, Pa. (Youngstown Market)(Phillies won 6-2)

With the Indians heading into the playoffs with the New York Yankees, I thought it would be kind of fun to go into some of the Cleveland Indians Broadcast History.


Former Tribe Player Jack Graney was the first Radio announcer for Indians Baseball, beginning in 1932 on WJW-AM going all the way to 1944 with several partners, Though Tom Manning did some games for WTAM in the 1929-31 period, but he also was League Park Announcer.

In a unique situation, Four stations broadcast the June 28, 1946 game, Shortly after Bill Veeck bought the team..WJW (Earl Harper) WTAM (Tom Manning) WHK(Don Campbell) and WGAR (Jack Graney, Bob Neal)

WGAR then held the rights for 1947 with Jack Graney solo. WJW gained the rights for 1948-49 with Jimmy Dudley and Graney..WERE 1300 then acquired Broadcast rights from 1950-72..Jimmy Dudley was play by play man from 1950-67 with a number of color men..including Graney (1950-53) Ed Edwards (1954-55) Tom Manning (1956) Bob Neal (1957-61, 65-67) and Harry Jones (1962-64)..Dudley left the Indians after the 1967 season..It was said he didnt get along well with Bob Neal..Dudley announced Seattle Pilots games in 1969 before retiring in Arizona. Bob Neal was then partnered with Herb Score from 1968-72 (My first baseball memories are in 1970 with Herb Score and Bob Neal)

WWWE-1100 gained the Broadcast rights in 1973, with Joe Tait, Cavaliers broadcaster joining Herb Score until 1980..when Nev Chandler of Channel 5 joined Herb Score through the 1984 season..1985 saw Steve LaMar opposite Herb..Lamar was here through 1987..Paul Olden joined Herb in 1988..Olden had an uncanny knack for sounding like Vin Scully..Olden stayed through 1989..

Tom Hamilton joined the broadcast team in 1990..and has been with the team since then..WKNR-1220 gained radio rights from 1992-97, with the Score-Hamilton duo intact..Herb Score Retired after the 1997 season, but not before calling two Indians World Series..(1995, 97) WTAM-1100 (WWWE) acquired radio rights once again in 1998, with the Tribe going to a 3-man broadcast booth..Hamilton, former MLB player Mike Hegan and Former Tribe coach Davey Nelson were the team in 1998-99, with Channel 5 sports staffer Matt Underwood replacing Nelson from 2000-2006..In 2007, Underwood went to Sports Time Ohio as Indians annoiuncer with Rick Manning..Leaving just Tom Hamilton and Mike Hegan as the radio team..
UPDATE:Hamilton/Hegan in 2011 will be joined by Jim Rosenhaus, pregame host who will do a few innings a game to spell Hegan or Hamilton
Rosenhaus came from the AAA Buffalo Bisons. UPDATE 2012:Mike Hegan has retired from the radio booth, leaving just Jim Rosenhaus and Tom Hamiliton. UPDATE 2013:WTAM has signed a new Radio Contract for Indians games. with most of them simulcast on WMMS-100.7 FM..

Cleveland Indians TV coverage began as early as 1948 on WEWS Channel 5 with Van Patrick in the booth, being replaced by Tris Speaker and Bob Neal in 1949..

1950 saw WXEL-9 get the TV rights..Holding them at first through 1955 (as WJW-8 by this time) Announcers were Jimmy Dudley/Jack Graney in 1950, Hal Newell in 1951, Bob Neal and "Red" Jones in 1952-53..Ken Coleman and Jim Britt 1954-55 on WXEL/WJW. WEWS got the rights back from 1956-60..with Coleman/Britt in 1956-57, Coleman and Bill McColgan from 1958-60.

WJW-TV 8 would get the rights once again in 1961-holding them through 1979..Ken Coleman partnered with Harry Jones in 1961, then Bob Neal in 1962-1963..Coleman left the Indians after the 1963 season. Herb Score joined Bob Neal in 1964, then Score was joined by Harry Jones from 1965-67..Harry Jones was joined by Yankee legend Mel Allen in 1968..1969-71 saw the team of Harry Jones and Dave Martin..Jones then partnered with Rocky Colavito in 1972, then Mudcat Grant in 1973-74..(Little bit of chin music there..) 1975-76 had Bob Brown and Rocky Colavito as the broadcast team..1977 it was back to Harry Jones and Mudcat Grant..1978 (WJKW) saw Jim Meuller and Eddie Doucette of Milwaukee as the TV Team..In 1979 it was Joe Castiglione and Bruce Drennan..

WUAB-TV 43 gained broadcast rights in 1980-2001..Joe Tait and Bruce Drennan as the team from 1980-82..Then Joe Tait was joined by retired Browns(?) receiver Reggie Rucker from 1983-84..Joe Tait then was with Jack Corrigan in 1985-87 (now part of the Rockies' Radio team).Corrigan teamed with Steve LaMar in 1988..then with Mike Hegan from 1989-2001, joined by Matt Underwood as the 3rd man in the booth in the 2000 season only..

In 2006..WKYC-TV 3 began airing a limited number of broadcast games through Cable home SportsTime Ohio..with Rick Manning and Jim Donovan


Early unsuccesful attempts at Cable included Ted Stepien's TenTV in 1982..With Joe Castiglione and Bob Feller as announcers..Then the Sports Exchange in 1983, with Feller, Jack Corrigan and Denny Schreiner..

1990 saw the debut of SportsChannel Ohio(FOX Sports Ohio as of 1998), with Rick Manning and Plain Dealer writer Dan Coughlin. Coughlin was replaced in 1991 bu Pittsburgh Sports TV Veteran John Sanders. They were joined in 2002 by Mike Hegan through 2005..

The Indians in 2006 took their TV production in house with the advent of SportsTime Ohio..While Sanders, Manning and Hegan were the team in 2006, it was decided in 2007 not to bring Sanders back..Hegan went exclusively to Radio and Matt
Underwood joined Rick Manning as the Current Broadcast TV Team..

2010 UPDATE:Jim Donovan is no longer announcing the Channel 3 games..They are now straight simulcasts with STO..

2013 Update:Dolans sell Sportstime Ohio to Fox which rebrands the Network "Fox Sportstime Ohio"..They will televise nearly every Indians Game, with just 4 simulcasts with WKYC-TV 3..

Longest serving Radio announcers
Jack Graney 1932-53
Jimmy Dudley 1948-67
Herb Score 1968-97
Bob Neal 1946, 1957-61, 1965-72
Tom Hamilton 1990-2013

TV (broadcast and Cable)
Ken Coleman 1954-63
Harry Jones 1961, 1965-74, 1977
Joe Tait 1980-87
Jack Corrigan 1983, 1985-2001
Rick Manning 1990-2013
John Sanders 1991-2006
Mike Hegan 1989-2006
Matt Underwood 2007-2013

I realize this has been exhaustive, but it points out how many talented broadcasters have come through Cleveland, and some not so talented (Rucker) and colorful personalites (Feller, Mudcat Grant, Drennan).. Baseball scores provided by provided by the Cleveland Indians..

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