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Baseball Play-by-Play, Back in the Day

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Baseball Play-by-Play, Back in the Day

Baseball Play-by-Play, Back in the Day

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

On Fridays, we listen in on conversations from StoryCorps. StoryCorps is a project that's capturing an oral history of America. Friends and loved ones interview each other about their lives, their favorite stories, their most memorable moments. The best of those interviews are heard on MORNING EDITION.

When the first pitch is thrown out at the All-Star game next week, 77-year-old Charlie Brotman will be watching with pride. It will be the first time in more than 30 years that a baseball team from the nation's capital will be represented at the game. Two players were selected this year from Washington's new team, the Nationals. Back when the Senators played in Washington, Charlie Brotman was the team's public address announcer. He did the job from 1956 to 1971. He told his friend, Tom Wiener, about his most memorable game, the very first one.

Mr. CHARLIE BROTMAN (Former Senators' Public Address Announcer): Opening day, 1956, it was the Yankees vs. the Senators. And I went to Griffith Stadium. I had never done stadium announcing before, and here I am introducing Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford. And in addition to all these famous baseball stars, I introduced the president of the United States throwing out the first pitch...

Mr. TOM WIENER (Brotman's Friend): And that was?

Mr. BROTMAN: ...which is traditional. President Eisenhower.

Mr. WIENER: OK.

Mr. BROTMAN: I was so excited. After the game, I raced home, I talked to my wife, Sada, S-A-D-A. And I said, `You won't believe this, but there's no question I've got to be the most powerful man in the world. Mickey Mantle, the world's greatest baseball player, had to wait for me to introduce him before he took the field! If that wasn't enough, the president of the United States could not do anything until I said, "Mr. President, would you throw out the first ball?" My God, you won't believe how important that I am!' And she says...

Mr. WIENER: Yeah.

Mr. BROTMAN: ...`Charlie, I want to hear all about it, but would you take the trash out first?' And I said, `The trash? Do you know to whom you're speaking?--the most important guy in the world.' She burst my bubble. And when I came back from taking out the trash...

Mr. WIENER: Yes.

Mr. BROTMAN: ...she said, `OK. Please, tell me about it.' I said, `It really wasn't anything.'

(Soundbite of laughter)

MONTAGNE: Charlie Brotman told his story in a mobile StoryCorps booth in Washington, DC. In the next few weeks, booths will be in Columbus, Ohio, Detroit and New Town, North Dakota. To find out when StoryCorps is coming to your area, go to npr.org.

Announcer: StoryCorps is made possible by a grant from Saturn.

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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