Aug 26th 1939- First televised Major League baseball game.
"At the time, television was still in its infancy. Regular programming did not yet exist, and very few people owned television sets—there were only about 400 in the New York area. Not until 1946 did regular network broadcasting catch on in the United States, and only in the mid-1950s did television sets become more common in the American household.
In 1939, the World’s Fair—which was being held in New York—became the catalyst for the historic broadcast. The television was one of fair’s prize exhibits, and organizers believed that the Dodgers-Reds doubleheader on August 26 was the perfect event to showcase America’s grasp on the new technology.
By today’s standards, the video coverage was somewhat crude. There were only two stationary camera angles: The first was placed down the third base line to pick up infield throws to first, and the second was placed high above home plate to get an extensive view of the field. It was also difficult to capture fast-moving plays: Swinging bats looked like paper fans, and the ball was all but invisible during pitches and hits.
Nevertheless, the experiment was a success, driving interest in the development of television technology, particularly for sporting events. Though baseball owners were initially concerned that televising baseball would sap actual attendance, they soon warmed to the idea, and the possibilities for revenue generation that came with increased exposure of the game, including the sale of rights to air certain teams or games and television advertising.
Today, televised sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, with technology that gives viewers an astounding amount of visual and audio detail. Cameras are now so precise that they can capture the way a ball changes shape when struck by a bat, and athletes are wired to pick up field-level and sideline conversation.”
This week in history:
- August 25th 1485 - Battle at Bosworth Fields: Henry Tudor beats king Richard III.
- August 26th 1498 - Michelangelo is commissioned to carve the Pietà.
- August 27th 1788 - Jacques Necker is named the French Minister of Finance.
- August 28th 1864 - The first Geneva Convention, governing rules of warfare, is signed by 26 nations.
- August 29th 1533 - Francisco Pizarro orders death of last Incan King of Peru, Atahualpa.
This baseball team photograph can be seen at the Hoboken Historical Museum.
1791 - Benjamin Banneker published his 1st almanac.
"In 1752, Banneker attracted attention by building a clock entirely out of wood. The first ever built in America, it kept precise time for decades. Twenty years later, Banneker again caused a stir, when he successfully forecast a 1789 solar eclipse. His correct prediction contradicted those of better-known mathematicians and astronomers. Banneker’s abilities impressed many people, including Thomas Jefferson, who recommended him for the surveying team that laid out Washington, D.C., making it the monumental capital it is today.
In his free time, Banneker wrote the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia Almanac and Ephemeris. The almanac included information on medicines and medical treatment, and listed tides, astronomical information, and eclipses calculated by Banneker himself. He published the journal annually from 1791 to 1802.
On August 19, 1791, Banneker sent a copy of his first almanac to Thomas Jefferson, then secretary of state. In an enclosed letter, he questioned the slave owner’s sincerity as a “friend to liberty.” He urged Jefferson to help get rid of “absurd and false ideas” that one race is superior to another. He wished Jefferson’s sentiments to be the same as his, that “one Universal Father … afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties.” Jefferson responded with praise for Banneker’s accomplishments.”
This week in history:
- August 18th 1920 - US ratifies the 19th Amendment bring in women’s suffrage
- August 19th 1561 - Mary Queen of Scots arrives in Leith Scotland to assume throne after spending 13 years in France.
- August 20th 1619 - 1st Black slaves brought by Dutch to colony of Jamestown Virginia.
- August 21st 1831 - Nat Turner slave revolt kills 55 (Southampton County, Virginia).
- August 22nd 1864 - Geneva Convention signed by 12 nations
The above picture is of Benjamin Franklin’s almanac. This can be seen at the Monroe County History Center.