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Jim Britt (April 11, 1910 — December 31, 1980) was an American sportscaster who broadcast Major League Baseball games in Boston, Massachusetts, and Cleveland, Ohio, during the 1940s and 1950s. On June 15, 1948, Britt was at the microphone on WBZ-TV for the first live telecast of a major league baseball game in New England, as the Boston Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs, 6-3, at Braves Field.
Boston Braves and Red SoxEdit
From 1940 through 1950, with time out for United States Navy service in World War II, Britt was the voice of both the National League Braves and the American League Boston Red Sox, as the two teams broadcast home games only.
Because the MLB schedules were then arranged so that the two Boston clubs were never home on the same date, there were no schedule conflicts. As such, Britt was the voice of two pennant-winning clubs, the 1946 Red Sox and the 1948 Braves. At the close of the 1950 season, that arrangement ended and each team decided to air a full schedule of 154 games. Britt chose to stay with the Braves, and the Red Sox were left to look for their own #1 announcer.
As fate would have it, the Sox would hire the second-banana for the New York Yankees — a Mel Allen protégé named Curt Gowdy — who would be Voice of the Red Sox for 15 years before moving on to NBC's Game of the Week and a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a Ford C. Frick Award winner. Meanwhile, the Braves' attendance fell disastrously in 1951 and 1952, and the club moved to Milwaukee during 1953 spring training.
Cleveland Indians and national workEdit
Britt did not accompany the Braves to Wisconsin. Instead, he joined the TV announcing crew of the Cleveland Indians in 1954, working through 1957 with Ken Coleman, a native of the Boston area (and Gowdy's eventual successor, in 1966, as Voice of the Red Sox). The highlight of Britt's Cleveland tenure was the Indians' 1954 American League pennant, although they lost in four straight games to the New York Giants in the 1954 World Series.
Nationally, Britt participated in the Mutual network radio coverage of the World Series in 1948 and 1950, and worked on NBC's television coverage of the Series in 1949 and 1951. He also announced several baseball All-Star Games in the late 1940s and early '50s, as well as NFL coverage on the DuMont network and college football coverage (including the 1953 Sugar Bowl game) on ABC.
Return to BostonEdit
Britt returned to Boston in the late 1950s as a sports announcer for the city's ABC affiliate, then WHDH-TV, which also telecast Red Sox games. But Britt never regained his former role on Red Sox broadcasts. Instead, he initiated a popular candlepin bowling show that he would host until 1961, and served as host of Dateline: Boston, a predessor to many of the modern-day magazine-style television programs.
Britt died in San Francisco, California, at age 70.