Tulsa Oiler baseball is on the air!
"Speedo" Joe Patterson was a popular player in the 60s.
We did live wire recreations of out-of-town Tulsa Oilers games from (Broadcast Center in Brookside). Jack Campbell and Mack Creager did the play-by-play from wire copy. Mo Billington recorded some great ballpark crowd loops, as well as "cheer and boo" carts which we used as needed. Engineer Les Nichols built a great "bat crack" sound effect device...a woodblock which was struck by a solenoid when the button was pushed. It sounded great on the air.
Jack and Mack worked on Western Electric 639B mics with mute switches and Brush single-ear headphones. One would occasionally hear the studio door close on-the-air as either announcer would go to the teletype to rip off the latest copy. I'm sure that many listeners were never aware that Jack and Mack were not really at the game!!!
By the way, it was my 17 year-old voice saying "peanuts...popcorn..." on that ballpark loop, for any of you who remember...or care!!!!
Fooling around with the scanner tonight and decided to send you a copy of my Drillers Press Card, faithfully toted around since 1977, which may explain the smudgy condition. You never know when you'll be in Tulsa some afternoon and want to take in a game.....
(from Guestbook 24) Lowell Burch said:
I really enjoyed the old Oiler Park. Do you remember Joe, I believe his name was, a vendor who carried dry ice in his mouth and blew vapor as he hawked his products?
I did not know they were recreating ball games on the radio until I was a teen, the talent was so competent. Once I found out, I noticed the hits all sounded alike, foul grounder or fly, and the same kid was always yelling the same thing over and over in the background, no matter which team was at bat.
My grandad took me to the Oiler games when you could see the ground down below the bleachers!
Here are a couple of pictures of the Tulsa Oilers baseball team of 1940. They played their games at Texas League Park, which was located in a different place from where the Drillers play now. It was next to the race track. From the top row of the grandstand on the first base side, you could watch the car races.
There were two significant things about this team. First, you notice that Dizzy Dean is included. He was sent to Tulsa to try to work out his arm troubles which he encountered in the Major Leagues. I was at his debut in a Tulsa uniform. He beat "Beartracks" Greer in an afternoon game before an overflow crowd. Second, many of the players from this team were brought up to play for the Chicago Cubs during the war. Their World Series against the Detroit Tigers was contested with at least seven players from the Oilers.
Regarding Dizzy Dean, I saw him pitch his first game for the Tulsa Oilers before the war, when he came down from the major leagues to work on his hurt arm. It was the largest crowd in Oiler history up until that time.
There was a great satire on Deans broadcasting technique which came out on an obscure 78rpm record in the mid-fifties. It poked fun at Ole Diz penchant for going off on tangents. On the record, Dean is spinning yarns, while all kinds of important things are happening on the field, including, eventually, a gang fight. He never gets past the introduction of the leadoff hitter, George Tealy .2nd Base." He also kept repeating the question, How can it be so hot today, with so many fans?
I watched TV while the me half of Me n Paul did commentary during the perfect game that Don Larson pitched during the World Series. As was the long-standing custom at time, there was not a mention of the perfect game while it was in progress, although it was on everyones mind. Finally, about the 7th inning, Diz said, I cant hold it any longer! I cant keep quiet! I realize that its against all baseball tradition, but I gotta say it. Don Larson is pitching a perfect game!
That broke the ice. The possible perfect game was the main topic of conversation for the rest of this remarkable performance.
(from Guestbook 139) David Batterson said:
I remember Oiler Park well. I went there many times in the '50s with my parents. And my dad knew Tulsa Oilers General Mgr. Hugh Finnerty. And one night my dad caught a foul ball--with his bare hands! That was a thrill. I never caught one, but a player tossed me a ball over the fence one night.
Mike Miller is right. Old Oiler Park was at 15th and Sandusky, west of where the Driller Stadium is today. About the only thing that is left from the old stadium is a pine tree that somehow made it through the years. Sources: Wayne McCombs' "Baseball in Tulsa" and my sore, hot feet from pacing the parking lot.
The first time I went up in the Pressbox, or Pigeon Coop, in old Oiler Park to make sure the phone company got the lines in the right place for the games that the station I worked for was going to air, I kind of had my doubts about how secure the stadium, and the press box was, but Terry Greene assured me that it had been there for years, and wasn't going to fall down unless it was blown down. (Remember the one phone company days? One call sets up the circuits for the games.)
But it was a windy Spring day, and the phone guy beat a pretty hasty retreat, and this was a guy that was used to climbing poles.
By the way, if you haven't picked up a copy of McComb's book, and you like Tulsa history and sports in general, it's worth the money.
Halfway through the season, the budget ran out, so we put Terry Greene in the control room, and I sat in the production room with the SFX records and a few other things we contrived.
A quick,real quick because of the cost, long distance call at the end of the innings would give Terry the stats, and we were on our way to producing what was probably one of the last "fantasy" baseball games heard on Tulsa radio.
At least, I hope so.
(from Guestbook 139) Rich Lohman said:
The old "Oiler Park" had a walkway collapse in 1977 shortly after the Drillers were born. During the customary parent club visit the Rangers were scrimmaging the Astros when a section of bleachers collapse under weight during a rainstorm. 1980 is when Robert Sutton coughed up the dough to build the stadium at its current location, after the voters turned down a bond issue or tax.
I was there for that first season in the new park and I defy anyone to identify any remaining structure of the original Sutton Stadium today. Drillers Stadium is a marvelous facility. We don't need fancy iron work or bricks, that place is a masterpiece. Finest park in the minors hands down.
I remember the old Oiler Park light standards stood for many years after the park was demolished. When did those finally come down?
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