July 4 Old Time Radio

Patriotic Old Time Radio: Baseball

Many of us happily remember when America was light-heartedly defined by “Baseball, Hotdogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet“.

Today, General Motors has seen its better days, Apple Pie is is derided for its calories, and stadium hotdogs have become, well, complicated.

But there is no denying the fundamental beauty of the diamond, the green of the grass, the blue of the summer sky, the smack of the ball hitting a leather glove, the crack of the bat, and the intent faces of the young players. Ahh, Baseball

Eve Arden in Our Miss Brooks is looking forward to the openning game, but her motives might be questionable;you see she has a new dress for good looking Mr. Boynton, the biology teacher, to see…

Lucille Ball is ready for the annual game at the company picnic on My Favorite Husband. Baseball was part of the college glory days for both George Cooper and his boss Mr. Atterbury (Gale Gordon). But this year they can’t play because the employees have a new rule- the teams will be made up of married couples. How could that be a problem? Both George and Mr. Atterbury are married, aren’t they? Well, that would mean that Liz (Lucy) and Iris will get to play, and that may not be a good thing…

One of the most moving of baseball stories is “Pride of the Yankees”, which is dramatized for the radio on Lux Radio Theater. Lou Gehrig may not be familiar to modern fans, but he was one of the game’s powerhouses, in many ways surpassing even his team mate Babe Ruth. Gehrig rose from his immigrant roots, over his mother’s objections, to become one of the greatest players of all time, but remained a simple and admirable man, who loved his mother and was deeply in love with his wife. His record of consecutive games was considered one of Baseball’s unbeatable records (it stood until it was bested by Cal Ripken Jr in 1995). Gehrig’s formidable power was missing at the beginning of the 1939 season, and continued to deteriorate. Eventually he would be diagnosed with a debilitating neuron-muscular disease that would eventually take his life.

The scene where Gehrig says his good-bye to baseball, which regularly appears on top-ten lists of most inspirational movie scenes, contains one of the most quoted and emotional of movie lines:

“People all say that I’ve had a bad break. But today…
today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

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