GameDay for the Flappers and Fords Crowd
August 25, 2012 7:56 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading about, and maybe seeing pictures of, baseball scoreboards for people who couldn't go to the ballpark could follow the game back in the early twentieth century. I want to know everything about them.

Okay, part of the problem here is that I am not sure just what these things were called. But, I remember seeing—possibly in Ken Burns' Baseball—images or footage of people gathered around an off-site scoreboard to "watch" a game. This would have been back in the 1910s or 20s, I think.

I want to know more about them: how did they work? How did the operator get updates on the game? How did people react around them—did they cheer and boo? How far away from the ballpark could they be? Could somebody in rural America follow a game in the city with one?

I'd especially love pictures and anecdotes. I *think* there's a description of one in Thomas Wolfe's Of Time and the River but I might be mis-remembering.
posted by synecdoche to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A starting point...
posted by lewedswiver at 7:58 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Playograph! Thank you! Just knowing the name will do wonders for my research.
posted by synecdoche at 8:00 PM on August 25, 2012

Jules Tygiel's Past Time: Baseball as History might be a good resource. It only mentions playographs once, but the surrounding text seems to give some good context.
posted by lilac girl at 10:01 PM on August 25, 2012

You do know that Ronald Reagan was a sportscaster for a station in western Illinois, announcing Cubs games, except he wasn't *at* the Cubs games, he was getting a feed somehow, but acting that he was there.

Ronald Reagan used to be an announcer for the Cubs in Des Moines. One of his jobs was to commentate on games that he wasn't actually at. He would receive a summary of the score by telephone then produce a commentary based on that.

Read more:

Or just google Ronald Reagan Cubs announcer
posted by dancestoblue at 11:05 PM on August 25, 2012

Great pictures and information within.
posted by ElCuadrangular at 6:33 AM on August 26, 2012

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