A GREAT rendition of the Glapsie story, and thanks for the photos!
BTW, the photo of the KAAY tower base shows the Austin transformer, and NOT the "Johnnie Balls" as you describe in your narrative. The Austin transformer is a torroidal transformer that is used to transfer tower lighting AC current to the tower's obstruction lights. Since there can be no electrical connection between "earth-bound" circuits, and the tower itself, the Austin transformer is the only way to get AC current onto the tower without making a physical connection.
The arc gap balls are used to suppress static electricity charges and lightning by creating an easy path to earth ground. Just the simple blowing of a summer breeze can generate an incredible static electricity charge on the tower, and occasionally, even on a breezy sunny day, you might be able to hear the "crack" of a spark jumping across the arc gap to ground.
Here's a photo of some arc suppression johnnie balls (anti-static arc gap) similar to the ones you mention in your story - (not KAAY) along with an Austin transformer and the tower's base insulator:
By the way, in your KAAY picture, you can see the porcelain base insulator that the entire tower sits on. It's an amazing thing - the weight of the entire tower sits on a single porcelain insulator!