Based on the number of responses we are getting on this blog so far, baseball seems to be a favorite topic. So with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game being played tonight, I thought it was time for another great Vanderbilt baseball story from the days when we were on campus.
I also wanted to do another baseball story to find an excuse to use the great photograph above of two of Vanderbilt's finest athletes ever, Jeff Peeples and Watson Brown.
My story isn't really about the Vanderbilt baseball team, per se. It's about what happened when we at WRVU tried to broadcast one of their games live in the spring of 1972.
In those years, WLAC-AM (1510) carried most of the major games, especially our SEC contests. But we at the campus station managed to work in our share of broadcasts. That included a game against Belmont that was actually played on old Diamond #1 in Centennial Park (where the Sportplex is located today).
I thought we broadcast a doubleheader that day (I remember it was Sunday afternoon). However in checking the Vanderbilt baseball media guide I couldn't find a twin bill listed that year.
Regardless, we rigged up a way to send the broadcast signal back to the station (including, I remember, someone wrecking their car on the way back and forth from WRVU to the park). We did it by sending the signal down a line from a pay phone booth (remember pay phones?). I think we used some alligator clips.
Anyway, we broadcast the game (Vanderbilt won, which the media guide confirms) and we went on with our business. Until about a week or two later when the WRVU Station Manager Courtenay Carson dropped by the studios. He was furious about a call he had gotten from someone at the telephone company. They wanted an explanation about a 4-hour-plus phone call made to the station from a pay phone in Centennial Park.
Now Station Manager Carson didn't know anything about our baseball broadcast of the Belmont game. Usually, you had to buy an expensive special line to broadcast remotes like that (we had a permanent line to McGugin to broadcast regular home games). So Carson denied any such call happening and swore to the phone company people that the station was innocent.
No, we told him. We did the broadcast, and yes, we did it using alligator clips and the line in the pay phone booth at the park....and all for one thin dime (the cost of a pay call in those days).
You should have seen the look on Courtenay's face. :)
There's another story I can tell about trying to broadcast Vanderbilt's 1973 SEC Championship Series game against Alabama from Tuscaloosa. But I'll save it for when the Major League playoffs get under way in October.
Don't forget to leave your thoughts below.