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What, exactly, is “The Living Room” era?

Sep 5, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT

1960 TV

This is kinda weird. Just as the Hall of Fame Veteran’s Committee has split up its candidates into eras such as “The Golden Era” and “The Expansion Era” the folks who hand out the Ford Frick Award to broadcasters has split up its candidates into eras as well. I dig the names:

  • The “High Tide Era” – to be voted on this fall, announced in December at the Winter Meetings and presented during the annual Hall of Fame Awards Presentation in 2014 – will consider candidates whose contributions have come during the regional cable network era, beginning with the mid-1980s through today.
  • The “Living Room Era” – to be presented at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation in 2015 – will consider candidates whose most significant years fell during the mid-1950s through the early 1980s, as the game spread through television and into homes across the country.
  • The “Broadcasting Dawn Era” – to be presented at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation in 2016 – will consider candidates who contributed to the early days of baseball broadcasting, from its origins through the early-1950s.

I watched baseball in the late 70s and early 80s in the basement, but I get what they’re driving at. It’s kind of cute. I picture burnt orange carpeting and a green couch with a laminate coffee table in front of it. On the table is a bologna sandwich and a can of domestic beer. The game features men in tight pants and old school stirrups.

I guess the bigger question is why the Frick Folks feel it’s necessary to go back in time and look for more honorees. Much like the Veteran’s Committee candidates, the past seems pretty well picked over. By going back in time you’re just looking for honorees to justify the process and thus you necessarily lower the standards of induction. Which at one time made sense with the Veterans Committee — there really were certain people overlooked — but all in all it turns into an exercise of obligation than one of honoring folks.

  1. drunkenhooliganism - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    The best broadcaster in all three eras is Vin Scully.

  2. dodger88 - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    What I love is that Vin Scully’s tenure actually falls into all three categories. Unbelievable and simply the best!

  3. hojo20 - Sep 5, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    I spent many a game in the early 1980’s watching Game of the Week on a huge Zenith TV in the living room on a shag carpet

  4. bdunker - Sep 5, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    How about a transistor radio era? Like the one I had tied to my bike as a kid. I always enjoyed listening to Ned Martin doing play by play for the Red Sox games. Man, I loved that radio.
    The “Transistor Radio Era” began for me in 1968 and ended around 1973 after I tried to jump the creek in the back yard.

  5. bennoj - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    The writers are just making it clear that the HOF is all about them. Just as lately the umpires have been making it clear the games are all about them. Baseball is not in any way about the players.

  6. robertchulo - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    My “transistor era” began in September of 1962 when I got the radio for my 8th birthday just in time for the World Series between the Giants and the Yankees. Unfortunately it did not last long as my 3rd grade teacher saw the earphone, took the transistor, and called my mom. I didn’t get it back until the Series was over. I listened to many minor league games (Charleston WV Indians) called by Shorty Hardman on that radio over the next few years.

    • chumthumper - Sep 6, 2013 at 9:25 AM

      Spot on. In 1962, I had a friend who was moved from the back row to the front row in 9th grade English class because the teacher saw his earphone and assumed it was a hearing aid. He was just listening to the Series on his pocket transistor.

  7. mornelithe - Sep 5, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    When I first heard the term, my immediate reaction was the time when HD TV’s became so prevalent, and video feeds became so high resolution that fans began to retreat from ticket and concessions prices to the living room for craft beer and home BBQ.

    But, I understand the explanation you have there.

  8. natstowngreg - Sep 5, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    I’m very much Living Room Era. Back to 1963, the end of the CBS, Pee Wee Reese/Dizzy Dean Saturday games period, and the transition to the NBC, Curt Gowdy/Joe Garagiola (later, Tony Kubek) period. Local TV coverage in our part of Western New York meant the Pirates, with the very homerish and very entertaining Bob Prince. Other announcers could be heard on NBC during the World Series (a practice I’d like to see revived).

    Radio meant a lot of different voices, as we had very good radio reception. Games from Detroit, Cleveland, Piittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, occasionally Boston, New York (Bill White/Phil Rizzuto), Washington, and Atlanta. Also, the 50K-watt station in Rochester broadcast the occasional Orioles games (having their AAA affiliate). Basically, I became a Tigers and Pirates fan listening to Prince and Ernie Harwell, and remained so until the teams stopped competing (after 1992).

    I tend to agree with Craig about the older eras, and the parallels to the Veterans Committee. Seems to me, the proliferation of TV outlets makes post-1980, with its proliferation of outlets and voices, the place to find Frick Award winners.

  9. moogro - Sep 5, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Baseball on the radio is awesome.

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