Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Game Alert: The 715 Game to air April 8th (sorta)

Tomorrow at 7pm ET, the Atlanta Braves will be broadcasting on their YouTube and Facebook pages parts of the April 8, 1974 Dodgers/Braves Game or as it is more famously known, the night Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's homerun record.

Over the last decade, we have found bits and pieces of additional footage of this game.  First, there were alternate angles and second, we got more of the previous at-bat

However, tomorrow is something else entirely.  This game has not been shown to the public at-large in nearly 50 years.  The complete broadcast has been lost to time.  There was a home recording by a channel flipper that had a bit of the important points and some later innings.  There is rumored to be an audio recording of the entire TV broadcast.  There is a clip reel somewhere buried in the NBC Vault that holds bits and pieces of the broadcast.

Now, here comes the cold water. 

The MLB.com write-up isn't exactly inspiring:
One of the most iconic moments in baseball history occurred when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run against Al Downing in the fourth inning of the Braves' 7-4 win over the Dodgers on April 8, 1974. A national television audience heard the call from Vin Scully and caught a glimpse of a young Craig Sager, who was an eager and budding television reporter when he interviewed Aaron after he crossed the plate.
The national television audience did NOT hear Vin Scully's call.  Both he and Milo Hamilton have been immortalized with their calls but both recordings come from the radio.  Curt Gowdy made the television call on NBC, which should be your first clue to that we aren't getting the complete game.

Here is the 2nd (and much clearer hint): According to the guy who actually put together the broadcast (via Behind the Braves podcast), this is a hodge-podged together broadcast.  It picks up around the 21 minute mark.  In it, he has taken bits he has from a random footage reel and put it together to make something presentable. 

The 1st inning at-bat may be shown, per the above podcast.

So, enjoy what will be the most complete version we have seen since that original airing 46 years ago but realize going into it, we still are looking for this long lost broadcast.

Programming Alert: Mr. Tiger and the 1968 World Series TONIGHT (4/7/20)

With the passing of MLB HOF'er Al Kaline, MLB Network will be showing both Game 6 and Game 7 of the 1968 World Series.  As you may remember, the Motor City Kitties came back from being down 3-1 in the Series and 3-2 in the 7th inning of Game 5 to eventually become World Champions.

Game 6 begins at 8 pm. This game originally took 2:26 minutes to play.
Game 7 begins at 10 pm. This game originally took 2:07 minutes to play.

In Game 6, Kaline would go 3-for-4 with a homerun in the 5th inning off of fellow HOF'er Steve Carlton.  Kaline would go hitless in Game 7 but Jim Northrup 2-out triple in the 7th would be all the Tigers would need as they defeated the Cardinals and HOF pitcher Bob Gibson.  You can currently watch Game 7 unedited in high definition on the Tigers YouTube page.

For more 1968 Tigers content, you can check previous posts here and here.

For more on Al Kaline content, you can see read it here.

Friday, April 19, 2019

MLB Vault: MLB's "new" (old) YouTube Channel

In late 2010, MLB created a promising new YouTube channel dubbed "MLB Classics".  Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that the channel was nothing more than a conglomeration of previously available MLB games.  Rolling in some previously internationally available games involving Japanese born MLB stars, the channel adopted some of the classic fare you would find on MLB.com or iTunes for download.  

There the channel sat.  While MLB continued to upload classic clips to their main MLB channel, this clips did not find their way to the 'Classics' channel.  Still yet, MLB would make their international channels available in the US at the conclusion of the season under the titles of 'MLBGlobal11', etc but didn't bring these games over to their 'Classics' channel.  World Series games from 2013 and even the 'Curse' breaking World Series clincher between Cleveland and Chicago would be uploaded to the main 'MLB' YouTube channel.  

This channel seemed like a dead channel, a place you could go if you wanted to see the '52 Series clincher or Kerry Wood strike out 20 Astros. 

Until 3 weeks ago...

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Clinching the Old Fashioned American (League) Way

There was a time when pennants weren't decided in a best-of-7 game series.  Or best-of-5, either.  Teams used to win their league's pennant in a winner-take-all best of 162 game series known as "having the best record in your league".*  Of course, this is also when there were only 20 teams in baseball.  With the advent of divisional play in baseball, the game forever changed with the expansion of the playoffs to include 4 teams (and eventually to today's number of 10 teams).

*until divisional play, the AL had seen only one playoff series in 1948.

There was also a time when the New York Yankees seemed to be the only team to win the American League pennant.  From 1949 to 1964, the New York Yankees were AL Champions all but twice ( '54 Indians, '59 ChiSox).  Much like the Iron Curtain, this too did pass.  When it did, with the Twins representing the American League in 1965, we saw a different team win the pennant each year from 1965 until the creation of divisions in 1969.

What we also have is a bit of a serendipitous collection of the final outs (or seconds after) of the final 4 American League pennants before divisional play in 1965, '66, '67 and '68.  More about each after the jump.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Check the Webbing: Reggie going deep on WHDH-TV (in COLOR)

Happy Opening Day 2018!  Much of the league saw their games played under gray skies (or even postponed) but hopefully this classic color footage will brighten your day!  

Here we have a clip uploaded by MLB.com to their YouTube channel.  As described in the video's info:
6/15/69: Athletics outfielder Reggie Jackson hits his 23rd home run of the season
That's exactly what we get.  Reggie Jackson, in the beautiful sleeveless A's uniforms, takes Sonny Siebert deep into the Fenway bullpen for his 23rd home run of the 1969 season.  This game was broadcast on WHDH-TV and we have Ken Coleman on the wet-blanket call.  

What makes this clip so particularly interesting is where it came from and what it represents.  This footage comes from the New England Museum of Sports.  We've talked about footage from the Sports Museum before. There is an extensive cache of clips and highlights that survived from when WHDH lost their license.  Up until now, it was not known whether MLB was in possession of all of this.  This clip makes it clear they do have it.

Which brings me to the most important point: this June 15, 1969 game survives as a pretty extensive partial.  Roughly 2 hours and 7 minutes of this game, in beautiful color, has been saved.  Sans for part of the top of the 3rd inning, the game is complete into the top of the 8th inning.  This is a pretty sizeable partial color broadcast, which seems to be missing the final reel/tape of the game.  

With this game having been in trading circles for years now, you're left with less hope that the final reel/tape will ever be found.  The full radio broadcast of this June game can be purchased on-line, which would allow fans to finish the game should this ever be offered through and official vendor.  Still, complete or not, this is one of those amazing finds that is the whole reason those of us that are always on the look for stuff continue to search!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: 1964 All Star Game (Partial)

The 1964 All-Star Game is considered one of the most exciting games in the classic’s history.  Only 3 of the 9 innings didn’t feature scoring.  The game featured two solo homeruns by Ken Boyer and Billy Williams in the 4th.   The National League would come from behind to win on a 3-run walk off homerun by Johnny Callison.  

Unfortunately, we don’t see any of that.

After the jump, we will discuss this recent offering of yet another 1960’s All-Star Game.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Check The Webbing: Gibby and Billy Williams Day

Editor's Note: 'Check the Webbing' will be short posts about broadcast clips found on the Web.  These types of clips either do not need extensive explanation or research, or are updates to posts already written.  

Billy Williams Day, a doubleheader from June 29, 1969, is a topic that has been discussed on numerous occasions.  Three years ago, we saw a brief clip of the final out of Game 1 from that double header at Wrigley.  Our original post back in 2012 focused on color video tape footage from the 8th inning of that first game.  

The description of the events of that clip were:
The clip seen here is of Ernie Banks driving in the 1st run of the game with an RBI single up the middle.   This clip, as well as the other Gibson shots, come from Revisiting the 1969 Cubs , a WGN produced clip that (judging by onscreen graphics) was put together in the 1990's. 
On January 31, 2017, MLB.com uploaded an extended video clip of Banks' single off of Gibson in the 8th inning.  This clip can be found on their YouTube channel.  The footage is color videotape and is complete with the Jack Brickhouse call.

Without speaking to MLB, the source of this clip most likely comes from the WGN highlight reels that were compiled throughout the season.  Many of these survived from the late 60's and early 70's.  They often times represent the only broadcast footage that remains from WGN.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The 1957 World Series: What Exists

Nearly 10 years have passed since we first wrote about the surviving kinescopes from the 1957 World Series.  At that time, only 2 of the games were commercially available by Rare Sports Films and neither of those games were complete.  We also knew that Rare Sports Films had publicly shown at least two other games.   It was rumored more existed beyond those four and as the years passed by, those games began to trickle out.  First, it was a partial of Game 5 in 2013 and then, a complete sign-on to sign-off version of Game 1 was released two years ago. Now, as the 60th anniversary of this historic World Series is upon us, Rare Sports Films has released yet another game.

So where do we stand?  It has taken 10 years (or 60 depending on how you look at it) but we are on the cusp of having a near complete series.  We now know that Rare Sports has 4 of these games in complete form, one game missing a single at-bat and two partial broadcasts. 

After the jump, we will combine all the information we have to give the most complete view of the series to date.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The 1962 All Star Game (Game 1 - Partial) Review

July 10, 1962. On the same day that the NBA agreed to let George Steinbrenner’s ABL Cleveland Pipers join as an expansion team, Major League Baseball played the first of two Midsummer Classics.

It would be the final year that the two leagues would play more than one All-Star exhibition game. For the past 3 years, the Players Association had used the two All-Star games to help support the players’ pension fund. The American League had argued that they would no longer participate in two exhibitions during the previous winter; however the two leagues came to an agreement to go ahead with both contests in 1962.

These long lost kinescope reels (which constitute the most complete All-Star Game broadcast prior to 1965) give us a glimpse into Midsummer Classic that features a sitting President, an All-Star Game legend, an exciting game and a rare glimpse into a classic stadium.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The 399th Homerun for 'The Duke of ... Coogan's Bluff'?

It is jarring.  You don't expect it.  You're watching the ball jump off the bat and your brain is conditioned to think it is a routine flyball.  As the camera pans to the right, it just appears.  The right field stands at the Polo Grounds.  That is where Duke Snider's 399th career homerun landed in an unearthed video clip from MLB.com.  

This isn't the only homerun we've ever seen in the Polo Grounds, however (to my knowledge) it is the only broadcast footage of a homerun in the iconic stadium.  The Polo Grounds was the home of the New York Yankees until 1922, the Giants until 1957 and the Mets for the 1962 and 1963 seasons.  The ballpark hosted two All-Star games, neither televised and the 1951 and 1954 World Series, both of which were televised but no broadcast material survives.  Probably the most famous game ever played at The Grounds was Game 3 of the 1951 NL Playoff.  Despite the WPIX broadcast being transmitted coast-to-coast by NBC, no broadcast footage from this game survives either.   

 After the jump, we will talk about the game, the call and the true star of the clip: the ballpark.