This particular blogUmentary relative to the baseball Genesis of Curt Gowdy begins like most of my previous. The discovery of a cool piece of memorabilia leading to an avenue of curiosity longer than the Mother Road (Route 66). If you know of or have heard of Curt Gowdy and/or the Mother Road, then you're more than likely to be interested in the contents of this remembrance. If not, you're probably already bored but will miss out on a treasure of enlightenment by going your own millennial maddened way.
More than a few weeks ago I found myself looking around as I normally do if any spare time happens to show up on my schedule. Just making some regular stops and regular talks with some irregular folks who consider me a friend. One of these irregularities, Doug from the Antique Warehouse here in Oklahoma City, knows me fairly well and knows I don't buy much of anything unless there's anything odd, random or rare to pry a dollar from my wallet secured within a tightwad pocket. In fact, I think most get somewhat disturbed to see me coming if they have yet to find something of such previous description. Many times I've walked away with disappointment after a hard search for anything that might trigger my Tique Sniper curiosity. Not necessarily a disappointment to me, but, more so for those entrepreneurs who are always looking to make a buck or two on a slow weekend of antiquity.
Towards the end of a leisurely yet unsuccessful day of journeyman Tique Sniper work, ole Doug came through with a piece that caught my eye. He handed me an old scrapbook compiled of faded newspaper articles filled with a mass amount of information about the mostly forgotten and millennially unknown Oklahoma City Indians. The Indians were the OKC Dodgers who were the Oklahoma Redhawks who were the Oklahoma City 89ers after they were called the Indians. One of my bargaining strategies included the fact that the old newspaper articles and photos were interesting but most can be found online with a quick search of resources available to the general public. That money saving strategy soon disappeared as an element discovered within the scrapbook that can't be found anywhere, period, would be the 1947 signature of one Curt Gowdy, "The Indians Baseball Announcer," along with several of the '47 team members including a future but now past 1953 American League MVP Al Rosen. Dang it, with my bargaining strategy vanished into thin air, I'm now left with nothing but the hard core reality of true Tique Sniper intuition...if you see it don't leave it or you won't see it again.
Well there's nothing better that I enjoy than learning about pieces of treasured history that have fallen through the cracks of father time. Especially from a personal experience of someone who was actually there. Curt Gowdy was the voice of baseball for me as a young little leaguer with big league dreams in the 1960's and 70's. Memories of watching baseball's Game Of The Week on my grandparent's RCA Console television still resonate with me today. The voice of Curt Gowdy every Saturday afternoon is included within that resonation. It's just as clear as if yesterday, I was still sitting there in Binger, Oklahoma, with my grandpa watching Gibson and the Cardinals battle the Chicago Cubs. Of course, with only one game a week, baseball was way more special to me than it is today. Of course, if you know Binger is the hometown of Cincinnati Reds Hall Of Famer Johnny Bench, you'll have a desire to read on. If not, you've now come too far to turn back now.
After finding Gowdy's signature in the old scrapbook and remembering Stan had previously brought up his Gowdy experience as a young fan, I had to seek his personal description a second time around as it now meant much more to my rekindled curiosity of that moment. The intrigue of this story is enhanced with the realization of the difference in time zones and lifestyles between Stan and I. Stan calls to share his experience as he's returning to Los Angeles after a weekend away while I'm answering his call on the way to El Reno after not really having been anywhere. Despite distance and differences, the common ground we both have is the game of baseball. We both wore those old wool styled little league uniforms that got a little more than warm on a hot summer afternoon. His experience coming from the 1940's in a larger Oklahoma City and mine from the 1960's from a much smaller Lookeba-Sickles. As well, we both carry the voice of Curt Gowdy in our reflections of baseball past. The exact same voice that transcended decades from Oklahoma City that he witnessed in 1947 to the national big time show in the 1950's, 60's and 70's before winding down in the 1980's.
Stan's recollection of his three inning experience watching Gowdy recreate an Oklahoma City Indian road game includes a one hundred square foot room at the KOCY studios and a guy in the corner with earphones typing out the game action info on small index cards. This as it was coming in from the away stadium via the Western Union Telegraph Company. The creative and talented Gowdy took the vague information as it was fed to him and created the Texas League game broadcast just as if he were there live in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Beaumont, Shreveport, Houston or San Antonio. The coded translation would be something like 1b equal one ball; 1s equal one strike; fb would not equal facebook but a foul ball and so on. Gowdy instinctively enhanced the code with such baseball jargon as "it's a cool night here in Dallas as Rosen adjusts his cap and checks his socks before stepping up to the plate." Who would have thought? Who would have known? In a Wide World Of Sports with no technology, Gowdy was a make believe high tech genius. In Oklahoma City, when baseball was truly America's Game and riding high on the airwaves of AM radio, the slightly gravelly voice of Curt Gowdy was preparing to speak to future generations of fans across our great nation.
Although Gowdy's signature in the old scrapbook fascinates the senses of a collector's dream, it's the remembrance of his voice that endows such fascination. Learning of his genius baseball announcing Genesis actually happening in Oklahoma City is the type of historical morsel that keeps me looking around town on most Saturday afternoons as the "Game Of The Week" no longer exists as I knew it and looked forward to it with extraordinary anticipation.