August 2006

Phil Rizzuto – broadcaster extraordinaire

Rizzuto_phil_3#10 Phil Rizzuto, Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop on this day – August 25 – 50 years ago was granted an unconditional release to make room on the team for another Hall of Famer, Enos "Country" Slaughter.

The 39-year old (or thereabouts) "Scooter" Rizzuto retired and, starting with the 1957 season, began another career in baseball, this time as one of the most recognizable broadcasters in baseball. Rizzuto spent nearly 40 seasons with the Yankees, popularizing the phrase "Holy Cow" whenever a spectacular play occured.

Phil Rizzuto exemplifies what students will learn when they participate (in either a videoconference or an on-site visit) in our thematic unit addressing the Communication Arts entitled "Going, Going, Gone!" Believe it or not, kids, there wasn’t always an or ESPNews. Once upon a time, if you wanted to learn about how your team performed you would have to read the newspaper and listen to the broadcasts over the radio.

The first game broadcast over the radio was a Pittsburgh Pirates game broadcast on Pittsburgh radio station KDKA. Legendary broadcasters have been awarded the Ford C. Frick Award for Broadcasting Excellence since 1978. But there was a time when even the broadcasters wouldn’t be at the game! A telegraph operator would transmit information back to a radio studio where broadcasters and engineers would then recreate the game complete with crowd noise and sound effects. This creativity led to the addition of many new fans of baseball, of the teams in their area, and a special connection with their hometown broadcaster.


Rizzuto was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1994 as a player, and who could blame the BBWAA or electing him after recording five All-Star nominations, and winning the 1950 AL MVP award? Phil also made television history as the first mystery guest on the February 2, 1950 showing of "What’s My Line?"

When your students experience Going Going Gone you get to re-create (complete with your own sound effects) the broadcast of Hank Aaron’s 715th homerun and learn how the art of communication has evolved over the years in an interactive, hands-on experience.

Call us at 607.547.0347 or e-mail us today to set up your Hall of Fame educational experience!

Happy 50th Birthday, Paul Molitor!

Today, August 22, is Paul Molitor’s 50th birthday. The 7-time All Star from Minnesota was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004 with 85.18% of 506 total ballots. In order to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, an eligible player (or manager, umpire, executive, or pioneer) must receive votes from 75% of all ballots, so how many votes did one need to earn election in 2004? (I’ll be quiet while you figure it out…) Scroll down to see the answer…


If you said "385 ballots," you’re….wrong! If you said "380 ballots," you’re absolutely correct. So if Molitor received a vote on 85.18% of all ballots, how many ballots were cast his way?

431, that’s right!

Working with percentages is just one of the aspects of the Hall of Fame’s Batter Up! mathematics module, suitable for grades 3-8 (and the module can be expanded to include high school groups as well). Batter Up examines how everyday mathematical concepts, such as addition, subtraction, fractions, decimals, etc., apply to baseball and the real world; your students analyze baseball statistics and interpret data in terms of fundamental mathematic operations, and you will understand the application of baseball statistics and how they are calculated using basic mathematic principles.

If you’re interested in joining us either by videoconference or by coming to the museum for an on-site visit to participate in Batter Up, please call 607.547.0347, or just e-mail us!



August 9, 1946…

Sixty years ago on this very day – August 9 – all eight Major League games (four games in each league) were played at night for the first time in baseball history. The Boston Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Browns, and Washington Senators all played home games with their stadiums outfitted with lights (only the Braves and Senators won their games – against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Athletics, respectively).

Night games were becoming increasingly popular in the post-World War II period, though teams had been sporadically using temporary free-standing lights since the 1930s, as Baseball was increasingly taking advantage of technological advances to reach out to fans.  Yellow baseballs were tried out in an attempt to help players see the ball, and the Brooklyn Dodgers experimented with players wearing satin jerseys in the late 1940s to help fans see the jerseys in night games much more clearly.

Of course the Chicago Cubs did not attempt a night game at Wrigley Field until August 8, 1988 (8/8/88), but that game was rained outFirst_nite_game in the 4th inning, and the first official night game was eighteen years ago today, with the Cubs winning 6-4.

This image is a painting entitled "The First Night Game" by J.M. Mott Smith, image courtesy of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and is used in our Fine Arts module entitled "Painting the Corners." The very first night game in a stadium with permanent lighting was on May 24, 1935 at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.

This is just one example of how we use baseball as a platform in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Education Department to teach students when you schedule a videoconference or an on-site school visit!

Call 607.547.0347 for more information…

Welcome to Baseball for the Classroom!

Hello baseball friends and fans,

I’m James Yasko, Manager of Visitor Education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Our Education Program is much more than information on the history of baseball. We offer 13 educational modules that not only conform to national education standards, but also span the curriculum (Math to Science, Civil Rights to American History, Industrial Technology to Women’s History, and more) for school visits both on-site and via videoconference. For more information on any or all of these educational programs, please e-mail us at or call 607.547.0347.


You can also check out our website.

Thanks for visiting the blog for our 1st post – watch this space: there’s more to come…