Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Original NBC telecast of 1973 NLCS game 1

One unfortunate aspect of baseball TV history is that most NBC telecasts from the 1969-1975 era of the League Championship Series apparently no longer exist. However, I recently discovered one such NBC telecast which has mostly survived - game 1 of the 1973 NLCS between the Mets and Reds.

At that time, a station in each participating market could televise the LCS games using its own announcers giving viewers an alternative to the network telecast on the NBC affiliate. That fact is illustrated by this clip which contains the opening from the local telecast on WOR-TV in New York. After the classic Meet the Mets theme music, announcers Lindsey Nelson, Bob Murphy, and Ralph Kiner set the scene. The WOR telecast continues through the top of the 1st inning and you can see that it used the NBC video feed.

At the 13:26 mark, the video shifts to the NBC network telecast with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek calling the action. Tom Seaver pitched for the Mets and contributed an RBI double at 24:08. At 1:14:19, Gowdy promotes the "football/baseball doubleheader" on NBC the next day. At the 1:18:00 mark, Gowdy mentions that the game was airing on two different channels in Cincinnati. The game-tying home run by Pete Rose is at 1:45:10. During the bottom of the 8th around the 1:48:30 mark, the video footage ends and radio commentary fills out the rest of the game.

This game from Saturday October 6 started at 4 pm ET. It was much faster paced than a modern game. Commercial breaks were only 60 seconds. The official time of this game was just 2 hours. At the 58:10 mark, Gowdy actually refers to a regular season matchup between these teams which took only an hour and 37 minutes.

While the video quality is less than ideal, the TV audio is rather impressive. Fans of historic sports telecasts should appreciate the chance to see this rare network TV footage from the early LCS days.


  1. This is really cool. I cannot wait to watch more of it when I get the time. I was wondering about the LCS telecast rules since I have a DVD that has the Channel 17 crew calling game 5 of the 1980 NLCS between the Phillies and Astros, and now I understand how that was possible.

    1. Up through 1983, the MLB TV contracts allowed separate local telecasts of LCS games.

  2. The reason for the shift from WOR to WNBC by the recorder was because the NBC broadcast of the game was Joined In Progress in New York as they had evidently shown the ALCS game complete. Unfortunately, if he recorded the finish of the game it was on another tape that didn't survive.

  3. I find it odd that this game was televised on 2 channels in Cincy as the Reds longtime flagship station was WLWT Channel 5 which is also an NBC affiliate. WLW-T was owned from its inception in 1948 until 1976 by the Crosley family who also owned the Reds. WLWT broadcasted Reds until 1996.

  4. Any chance there is full footage of game 3?