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St. Louis Cardinals' Radio History

For generations radio listeners have twisted their dials with renewed fervor in April when baseball season begins. It St. Louis for over a half-century, those dials were tuned to KMOX, but the Cardinals’ play-by-play has been heard on other stations here too.

St. Louis baseball was actually first heard on the radio in 1926 when the Cardinals were in the World Series. It was the club’s first appearance in the post-season classic, and play-by-play man Graham MacNamee’s voice was heard on a primitive network hookup originating at WEAF in New York and picked up in St. Louis on KSD. (A published report lists Lester Arthur Benson as the originator of baseball broadcasts in St. Louis, but there is no documentation to back this up.)

The next year Cardinals’ owner Sam Breadon granted permission for the team’s home games to be broadcast on the radio, and according to Curt Smith in the book “Voices of the Game,” Garnett Marks was the first local announcer to broadcast the Cardinals. The station was KMOX. It’s notable that Marks didn’t use his name during that first full season, instead calling himself “Rhino Bill” at the behest of his sponsor, Rhino Tire Stores. Midway through the season, his sponsor changed and so did his name, to Otto Buick.

KMOX didn’t have a monopoly on the broadcasts, but the station’s managing director, Thomas Patrick Convey, took credit for being the pioneer of local baseball broadcasts. The Globe-Democrat published an article in 1949 crediting Convey with originating “the first baseball broadcast from inside Sportsmen’s Park.”

The reality, in Convey’s own words in a letter written in May of 1929, was, “In March, 1926, as managing director of KMOX…I secured permission to install facilities in the press box…For two weeks in April, 1926, I sat in the press box and gave the scores, runs hits and errors over the air. During the third and fourth weeks another employee of KMOX gave the score.

“...This broadcast was discontinued as the officials figured it was costing too much money.”

Over the years, announcers and stations changed:

1926 KMOX Thomas Patrick, Garnett Marks (partial season)
1927 KMOX Garnett Marks (Rhino Bill, Otto Buick)
  KFVE Thomas Patrick
  WIL William Elsworth
1928 KMOX Garnett Marks
  KWK Thomas Patrick
  WIL William Elsworth
1929 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Thomas Patrick
1930 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Thomas Patrick
  WIL L. A. Eddie Benson
1931 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Thomas Patrick
  WIL L. A. Eddie Benson
1932 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Thomas Patrick, Johnny Harrington
1933 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Johnny Harrington, Thomas Patrick, Bob Thomas
1934 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Bob Thomas, Ray Schmidt
1935 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Johnny Harrington, Bob Thomas
  WIL Neil Norman
1936 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Johnny O’Hara, Ray Schmidt
1937 KMOX France Laux, Jim Alt
  KWK Johnny O’Hara, Ray Schmidt, Allan Anthony, Tom Dailey
1938 KMOX France Laux, Ray Alt
  KWK Allan Anthony, Johnny O’Hara
1939 KMOX France Laux, Cy Casper
  KWK Johnny O’Hara, Jim Bottomley
1940 KMOX France Laux
  KWK Johnny O’Hara, Johnny Neblett
  KXOK Alex Buchan, Ray Schmidt, Gabby Street
1941 KWK Johnny O’Hara, Johnny Neblett, Dizzy Dean
  KXOK France Laux
1942 KWK Dizzy Dean, Johnny O’Hara
  KXOK France Laux
1943 KWK Dizzy Dean, Johnny O’Hara
  KXOK France Laux, Ron Rawson
1944 WEW(Day)/WTMV(Night) Dizzy Dean, Johnny O’Hara
1945 WIL Harry Caray, Gabby Street
  WEW(Day)/WTMV(Night) France Laux, Johnny O’Hara
1946 WIL Dizzy Dean, Johnny O’Hara
  WEW/WTMV Harry Caray, Gabby Street
1947 WEW/WTMV Harry Caray, Gabby Street
  WIL Dizzy Dean, Johnny O’Hara

Following the 1947 season, Breadon announced the creation of a six-station radio network for the next year, meaning outlying stations would be carrying the same broadcasts heard in St. Louis, sponsored by Griesedieck Brothers’ Brewery.

1948 WEW, WEW-FM/WTMV/KXOK-FM Harry Caray, Gabby Street
1949 WIL, WIL-FM Harry Caray, Gabby Street
1950 WIL Harry Caray, Gabby Street, Stretch Miller
1951 WIL Harry Caray, Gus Mancuso
1954 KXOK Harry Caray, Jack Buck
1955 KMOX Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Joe Garagiola
1960 KMOX Harry Caray, Joe Garagiola
1961 KMOX Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Joe Garagiola
1963 KMOX Harry Caray, Jack Buck, Jerry Gross
1968 KMOX Harry Caray, Jack Buck
1970 KMOX Jack Buck, Jim Woods
1971 KMOX Jack Buck, Jim Woods
1972 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Jim Walden
1973 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Harry Walker
1974 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Bob Starr
1975 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon
1976 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Bob Starr
1980 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Dan Kelly
1984 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Red Rush
1985 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon
1992 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Joe Buck
1993 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon
1994 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Joe Buck
1995 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Joe Buck, Bob Carpenter
1996 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Joe Buck
2001 KMOX Jack Buck, Mike Shannon, Joe Buck, Dan McLaughlin
2002 KMOX Mike Shannon, Joel Meyers
2003 KMOX Mike Shannon, Wayne Hagin
2006 KTRS Mike Shannon, John Rooney
2011 KMOX Mike Shannon, John Rooney

(Reprinted with permission of the St. Louis Journalism Review. Originally published April, 05. Original article updated 2012)