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Growing up, my father had this somewhat beat-up black radio with silver knobs and speakers and a fake leather case. It spent about 75% of its time sitting on the little cabinet beside the kitchen table, next to his seat. When it wasn't there, it was in the garage or in the backyard beside the barbecue. This radio had one purpose: to play baseball games.

It did all kinds of other neat stuff -- among other things, we could listen to police band and our neighbor's cordless phone. Mom says that she and Dad used to listen to ship-to-shore communications while lying on the beach. But all that was secondary, because this was the Baseball Radio.

Later in its life, the tuning dial began to fail, and us children were admonished for trying to change the channel away from the baseball station.

The Baseball Radio has now been semi-retired to the garage; the battery contacts have finally disintegrated, so it only works while plugged in, it has one volume setting (loud), and the station cannot be changed without a screwdriver. However, on days when cars are to be washed or wood is to be cut, the Baseball Radio still sees action.

The prized spot atop the cabinet beside Dad's seat at the kitchen table is now occupied by a new radio that someone got him for Father's Day a few years back. It's small, it's waterproof, it floats in the pool. That's great, but it's also brightly coloured and shaped like a bubble, and whenever I see it I can't help but miss the old, square, black-and-chrome unit that used to sit there.

My wife and I went on a two week long camping road trip a few weeks ago, and I decided that for the trip we required our own Baseball Radio. While idly wandering through a Radio Shack, I found a square, squat, chunky-looking one-speaker radio that was powered by a crank rather than batteries (you crank it 60 times and it runs for an hour, longer at low volume). It seemed durable, had a good warranty, and was blue. It had the perfect size and shape to sit atop a cabinet beside the kitchen table. It had a handle and an ugly carrying case. It doesn't pick up police band or cordless phones, but it does get shortwave.

I was sold. Now I have my own Baseball Radio.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Moffatt - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 10:36 AM EDT (#19667) #
I'd take requests on the telephone
I'm on a wavelength far from home

Nice story.. we never had a baseball radio per se, but I can't tell you how many games I listened to as a kid on the car radio with my Dad. So I usually just remember all the different cars he's owned (which is a lot; my Dad is a car guy).
Gerry - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 11:02 AM EDT (#19668) #
The crank radios are very popular in the third world, you do not need electricity or batteries to operate them. I have a small Sony one, a little bigger than a cell phone, that I take all around the house with me in baseball season.
Named For Hank - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 11:13 AM EDT (#19669) #
I had read about crank radios and the third world a few years back and decided I wanted one. Why keep chucking batteries in the landfill when I can run the thing off of arm power? I'm glad that they're easily available here.
_Mosely - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#19670) #
I identified completely with this one - we had, and still have a baseball radio up at the cottage.

It's the "Patrolman CB8". My parents bought it when I was about 2 to listen to radio at my cottage. It's got a huge receiver with all kinds of band support and three crazy antennae, since reception is so bad up there. The mono speaker was always bad so it had a tinny, hollow, distant sound yet somehow Tom's voice sounded better than ever through it. One of the only stations we could get was called CKAT from North Bay, who I believe used to carry the Jays games. Somebody had the good sense to mark the dial with a red pen, and one of the antennas is slightly bent, but otherwise it's still in mint condition.

A few years ago I picked up a vintage radio. It's a 1934 RCA, set top model that was fully restored about 10 years ago. It has quickly become my baseball radio. The sound it produces is priceless. The richness of the giant speaker, coupled with the drone of the tubes, make listening to a game almost magical - like I'm back in 1932 (at the tender age of -44). The dial even glows and changes color as stations come in and out of tune.

I understand very little
No comprende, it's all real
Named For Hank - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 11:36 AM EDT (#19671) #
Man, that old RCA sounds wonderful.
_Keith Talent - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 01:23 PM EDT (#19672) #
All we hear is radio ga-ga...
_GregH - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 01:46 PM EDT (#19673) #
When I was about 10 (too many years ago) my parents gave me a "transistor radio" for Christmas that became my baseball radio. It was a Philips, about 8 inches long, 4 high and 3 thick and I even listened to mid-sixties World Series on it at school using the earphone. It finally gave up the ghost about 15 years ago.

Now that I spend many spring and summer evenings at my sons' baseball games, I bought a little Sony Walkman AM-FM that hooks to my belt to listen to the Jays. I replaced the nice headphones it came with, with a single earphone so I can still hear people talking to me and the ump's calls.

My sons each have small table radios so they can listen in their rooms. Last year at the clinic that the Jays organization puts on for kids playing minor ball all over Ontario, they gave each kid a little belt radio with a Jays logo on it - only problem, it receives only FM, so no ballgames available!
_Daryn - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#19674) #
We had one, we'd take it camping with us and sit around the fire and try to tune in the local game... ours was cool, it seemed to know where we were and just play the local teams ... I was amazed (LOL)...

of course, as soon as the sun went down then reception went all to pot, so we often didn't get the end of the games, but that was ok, it was more about Dad and I, than the baseball anyway..
_Anders - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 04:04 PM EDT (#19675) #
A touching tale NFH. There was a baseball radio in my family once, although after my grandfather passed away I dont know what became of it. It was a big thing, maybe 8-10 inches wide and 12-14 inches tall with a silverish plating and a big antenna. I remember it well from one summer in particular, about 8 or so summers ago.

I have been swept up with memories, so here goes my memory of my baseball radio. Its a bit self indulgent and longish, but I like it.

We spent most of our summer, as we spent a lot of our summers, in the lovely town of Port Hope, 12,000 people strong (and home to Farley Mowat among others), about 75 minutes outside Toronto. AS the farm we normally stayed at was occupied somehow (my infantile memory recalls not the specific reason) we instead stayed at a place known as the badminton house, a large, villa-ish type deal with a massive, empty hall in the centre. We would spend the days swimming, or walking around the grounds, maybe playing croquet. We had an occasional friend visit, and hung out with our cat. We would visit the vast arrays of people my grandparent knew, see my uncle, and relax in contentment. Those were good times.

Perhaps what sticks out in my mind these years later was the aforementioned radio. My grandfather, bless him, was a rabid Jays fan. It was he who took me to my first game, sometime before they won their first Series, and it was with him that I have my first baseball memory - I dont remember against who, or with what, but it was sometime in '93, after the Jays had won their first world series, and I was the tender afge of 6.

I have in my possesion some of his memorabilia - a 15 years old paper thin jays windbreaker. A 4 million people attendance t-shirt from 93, a hat and pin from way back, a ceremonial ticket from some important game - i think the first at skydome. He had volunteered at the allstar game in 1991 in some capacity as I recall. He was a lifelong Jays fan, although he was three times older than they. He used to tell me stories about old exhibition stadium, and I was hooked. It was he who introduced me to baseball, and as such my first love was born. (Well, I was a pretty big fan of Adam West era batman tv show too, but thats another story)

I admit, I ramble through much of what I have just written, awash in nostalgia of a simpler time.

Anyhow, the aformentioned baseball radio was a simple thing, it was so very often how I spent my evenings. I remember myself, a somewhat precocious 9 yeard old, sprawling over the floor in my grandfathers room as he sat in his chair, listening to the Blue Jays. The one thing in particular that sticks out - for this was not a particularly remarkable season, was how bad Erik Hanson was, but I suppose that was neither here nor there.

This was my time. My time to enjoy the Blue Jays, and my time to be with my grandfather, a remarkable man who was in the twilight of his life.

Thank you for indulging me, I suppose.
_rodent - Monday, June 21 2004 @ 08:28 PM EDT (#19676) #
This isn't guaranteed historically accurate, but close enough:

I don't remember the radio itself, as well as I remember the huge drycell we bought for it every summer. That battery was the heaviest single item we took to The Lake of the Woods in late June of every year from about 1949, when I couldn't lift it, to about 1955, when I insisted on carrying it all the way up from the train to my Grandfather's kerosene-powered cottage. If we were parsimonious—listened enough to satisfy, turning it off when no one was listening, (novel concept,) it wouldn’t get real weak until late August.

I didn’t pay much attention to baseball until I was in Junior High and a Goldeyes (St. Louis,) and Yankee fan, but when my uncles were down they’d hog the radio to search their ballcasts out of the ether. Pittsburg, I think, and Chicago. I would get it late at night, running the battery cable out the window to the sleeping porch. Under the blanket, exquisite dial-squeezing might summon fifty or more signals from one end to the other. Farther-away ones would fade out, sometimes replaced with a new station. But there wasn’t any baseball west of Chicago and St. Louis then, and mostly I fell asleep to cowboy music.

It’s always great now to listen at the cottage, but the best might be the summer I went back and forth to Leamington from Toronto about six times. Travelling home along the Lake Erie shore, tracking the White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Pittsburg, and the Bluejays. All those different voices on the same wave. What a pleasure.
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