Berkeley Protest March; Mickey Mantle — Sportscaster

May 31, 1969_0531_special_announcement

"We Are Interrupting This Program for a Special Announcement!"

May 31, 1969, Buddha

May 31, 1969, Cover
Above, police and National Guard troops keep watch on a march on People's Park in Berkeley. View this page

May 31, 1969, Berkeley
Times reporter Charles T. Powers files a sidebar on fears that the march would turn violent. Instead, there was a "happy coalition of flower children, radicals and liberals," he says.
View this page


May 31, 1969, Akron

What's hot at Akron: Rattan!

May 31, 1969, War Dead

Above, an article on Memorial Day by Linda Mathews.

May 31, 1969, Blind Date

A blind date for Tricia Nixon. 

May 31, 1969, Roller Games

Los Angeles T-Birds vs. the New York Bombers in roller derby at the Olympic!

May 31, 1969, Ex Slave

May 31, 1969, Integration

May 31, 1969, Letters

Readers' letters on the protests in Berkeley…

May 31, 1969, Man Shoots 14

May 31, 1969, Bikini Relay

… and the San Diego to Santa Monica bikini race. 

May 31, 1969, I Am Curious (Yellow)

May 31, 1969, Marijuana

The 1960s: Hitchhiking and marijuana.

May 31, 1969, Mickey Mantle The cast of characters who put on blazers, hold microphones and call
themselves broadcasters seems to grow every year because players keep

I guess there are ex-athletes who eventually make good
announcers–Don Drysdale in baseball and Troy Aikman in football come
to mind–but I've never understood the reason for hiring former players
to state the obvious when there are sportscasters able to describe the
action, tell a story and do so in complete, clear sentences.

Mickey Mantle was one of those guys who stepped in front of a camera
after he retired. He joined former Yankee teammate Tony Kubek and Curt
Gowdy on NBC's "Game of the Week", which used to be appointment viewing
for baseball fans every Saturday.

Other than a rare Dodger or Angel
road game, this was the only baseball shown on television that week and
usually a chance to see a ballpark I could only dream of attending. NBC
also employed another former star turned broadcaster, Sandy Koufax.

Don Page talked to Mantle about his adjustment: "I think it might
turn into something but right now it's a test for both of us [NBC and
Mickey]. I'll tell you one thing though–it's easier than trying to hit
a ball."

See what I mean?

NBC had Mantle and Kubek talking to players on the pregame show "in
an easy, locker room style" and Page said Mantle was "surprisingly good
at it."

Page really let broadcasters have it regularly in his columns but he
let Mantle off easy. Page's story started with a memory of watching a
young Mantle playing with the Yankees in an exhibition at Los Angeles'
Wrigley Field. My guess is the critic was a fan no matter what Mantle
was doing.

–Keith Thursby

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in broadcasting, Comics, Richard Nixon, Sports, Television. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Berkeley Protest March; Mickey Mantle — Sportscaster

  1. Richard H says:

    “I’ve never understood the reason for hiring former players to state the obvious when there are sportscasters able to describe the action, tell a story and do so in complete, clear sentences. ”
    Name value for the TV Broadcaster. Particularly with recently retired players. It was a big deal in the 1960’s for the TV Networks. I don’t think it’s true anymore. But there are FAR more ex-jocks doing sports broadcasting, analysis and interviews now than ever. Almost to the point of excluding announcers that aren’t ex-jocks.
    After a while, the status of being an ex-superstar on a T.V. sports broadcast wears out however.
    I recall Koufax as being somewhat underwelming when he started out as a TV sports broadcaster for NBC in 1967. He wasn’t ready, he hadn’t been trained or prepped properly and always appeared nervous and self conscious. I remember he left before his contract with NBC was up. He clearly didn’t like being in the announcer’s booth.
    Sports on radio was far bigger in the 1960’s than now. Maybe the games weren’t broadcast on T.V very often, but they were ALWAYS broadcast on radio. People tuned in just to listen to the play by play announcer. I listened to Dodger games on the radio just to listen to Vin Scully.
    Listening on the radio was easy then with the cheap, tiny Japanese transistor radios that were very popular. They were the ipods and blackberries of the time. Being an ex-jock didn’t cut it for doing play by play on the radio. That’s where the Vin Scullys, Dick Enbergs, and Al Michaels got started and made their names.
    An exception was Don Drysdale. He was a very good radio sports play by play announcer IMO unlike most of the other ex-jocks that got into broadcasting.


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