Seven Pickles

11Jun/131

The St. Louis Cardinals Radio Network and the Tale of Bud Bloomfield

Plot of all stations carrying the Cardinals radio network

This map started out as a curiosity. How far does the well-known and expansive Cardinals Radio Network reach? What cities are covered and who's missing out? What areas have the highest coverage saturation? I had originally planned to talk about some of the interesting things that the map ended up showing, but realized that I was just rehashing the map. (But, for the record, here's a few things that the map doesn't show specifically...)

Northernmost city - Mason City, Iowa
Westernmost city - Beaver, Oklahoma
Southernmost city - Roxie, Mississippi
Easternmost city - Corydon, Indiana

The coverage area is nearly square at about 792 miles across and 812 miles tall. If you're lucky enough to have a good radio antenna and a cooperative atmosphere and happen to be within a few hundred miles of St. Louis, you'll be able to listen in. It's been that way for 85 years. The network's historic flagship station KMOX continues to have an impressive footprint on the Midwest and 110 other stations broaden the reach of the Cardinals Radio Network well past the state lines of Missouri.

There are just a few areas that have the misfortune of being uncovered despite being very close to two or more stations. There's that sliver in eastern Iowa and another in Oklahoma. Indianapolis, Nashville, Louisville, and Dallas are all within a few dozen miles of a station, and notice how the coverage area stops just short of Chicago. These folks are missing out. But one of the most interesting findings I discovered after plotting the maps popped up in northwest Arkansas - the only "coverage island" on the whole map. It's a tiny area, probably no more than 100 square miles. I thought that it might be a rural area, devoid of cities or towns. Unfortunately for the folks in Huntsville, Arkansas, I was wrong. They have four stations surrounding their town, and even on the best of days, they can't tune in to Cardinals baseball on the radio.

Not being satisfied with their draw in this situation, I dug a little deeper (if you consider Googling huntsville arkansas st louis cardinals digging deeper) to see if there was a recorded reason for this happenstance. This was the first result that popped up:

Bud Bloomfield - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Clyde Stalcup "Bud" Bloomfield played one season for the St. Louis Cardinals - 1963. He appeared in only one game that year, replacing Ken Boyer at third base in the bottom of the seventh inning on September 25. He did not record a put out. He did not record an at bat. The Cardinals held on to beat the Cubs 5-2 that day. Bloomfield is only one of eight position players in Cardinals history to play in only one game for the team and not record a plate appearance. He went on to play in seven games for the Minnesota Twins in 1964, collecting one hit in seven at bats. He retired with that one solitary major league hit.

1965 Topps #532 A quick diversion - Bloomfield was lucky enough to have a baseball card made for him. He was a rising star for the 1964 Twins, according to Topps. Unfortunately for Bud, that's not his picture. The card is an uncorrected error card and Jay Ward is the man in the photo. That's some bad luck.

But what does that have to do with the map? We need to flash back to the top of the eighth inning on that September day. The second batter that inning got hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single. Up stepped pinch hitter Tim McCarver, who singled to left field. The runner at second rounded third trying to score the Cardinals sixth run of the day, but was thrown out at the plate. Had he scored and the next hitter avoided a double play (he went on to fly out to center to end the inning), Bud Bloomfield would have had the first plate appearance of his Major League career. Instead, Bloomfield was in the on-deck circle when Corky Withrow, who himself only had nine plate appearances in his entire career, grounded out to third base to end the Cardinals half of the ninth.

The runner who was thrown out at the plate was Mike Shannon. The Mike Shannon whose voice can be heard over the airwaves of 111 radio stations across the Midwest 162 days (give or take a few) a year on the Cardinals Radio Network. The Mike Shannon who has been broadcasting Cardinals baseball for 42 years. The same Mike Shannon that cannot be heard on the radio in Huntsville, no matter how clear the day and no matter how tall the antenna.

In December 2011, at the age of 75, Bud Bloomfield passed away in the only town in Cardinals country that cannot hear Mike Shannon, the man who cost him his first, and probably only Cardinals at bat, on the radio - Hunstville, Arkansas.


SOURCES
http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/stl/downloads/y2013/stl_radio_map13.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Cardinals_Radio_Network
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bloombu01.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN196309250.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/w/withrco01.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/STL/bat.shtml
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=bloombu01
http://www.baseball-cards.com/vintage-baseball-cards/1964-topps.shtml

Coverage maps plotted via maps at http://www.radio-locator.com/

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  1. Hello, all the time i used to check website posts here in the
    early hours in the dawn, for the reason that i love to find out more
    and more.


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