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Monday, December 22, 2008

Red Barber Calls Johnny Vander Meer's Second No-Hitter — From Memory

Astonishing ($):
No one broadcast Johnny Vander Meer’s second consecutive no-hitter in June 1938, but that did not deter fans from telling Red Barber years later how much they enjoyed his call.

Barber should have called it, at least for symmetry’s sake.

He was then in his final season with the Cincinnati Reds (his storied run with the Brooklyn Dodgers started the next season) and behind the Crosley Field radio microphone for Vander Meer’s first no-hitter on June 11 against the Boston Bees.

But because the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees were in the last season of a five-year ban on radio broadcasts from their stadiums, Vander Meer’s no-hitter at Ebbets Field on June 15 was a witness-only event, unheard on any airwave. So while Vander Meer was making history in Brooklyn, Barber was home in Cincinnati, being called by exhilarated fans who knew that his home number was listed under his wife’s name.

Forty-one years later, Barber came to the annual meeting of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. They presented him with their Gold Medal. He recalled a prayer about the “changes and chances of time,” then offered his listeners the gift of timepassed.

“Something no one has,” he said. He later added, “It’s going to be yours.”

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