Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Story of the 1957 World Series Game 1 release

The 1957 World Series is one of the few kinescope-era World Series that we have multiple complete or near complete broadcasts.  In 2007, we discussed that Doak Ewing of RareSportsFilms had shown or sold the broadcasts of Games 3, 4 and 7.  Later, in 2013, Doak began to sell a near-complete copy of Game 5.  Game 6 has been part of a partial that he sells with a copy of the World Series Film. That update left only Game 1 and 2 from seeing the light of day.


Game 1, however, has since made it's way out into the world in the last two weeks through an eye-raising series of events.  How that game came out and how you can find it, after the jump.

Monday, April 6, 2015

RIP Lon Simmons (1923-2015)

One of the original San Fransisco Giants game announcers, Lon Simmons passed away Sunday.  The Giants issued the following in their press release:

But it was with the Giants that Simmons made his biggest impact. Their arrival from New York in 1958 was a historic event, since it marked the Major Leagues' first westward movement. Teaming with Russ Hodges, Simmons provided verbal illustrations of the excitement generated by the talent-laden clubs that recorded winning records each year from 1958-71, yet captured only one National League pennant. The exploits of San Francisco's core of eventual Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry -- were rendered unforgettable when delivered in Simmons' rich baritone.
Simmons would also call games for the Bay Area's other team, the Oakland A's, from 1981-1995.  It was during this stint that Simmons was able to call the final outs of a World Series, something that had alluded him on the other side of the Bay.


More after the jump:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

When Campy Forgot the Number of Outs

Happy Opening Night!

MLB.com gives us a 17-second clip on their YouTube channel of some vintage color videotape footage.  The wonderful part of this color videotape is that it preserves the remarkable brilliance of Charlie Finley's golden A's vests. 

The green stirrups with yellow socks.  The yellow vests with green sleeves.  The white spikes.  Dressed to the Nines actually lists that this combo didn't exist.  The socks, with the yellow vests should have been white.  These uniforms continued to feature the big green A on them for the second season. The 1970 season would be the first season they were no longer known as the Athletics but as solely the A's.  Modern baseball vests are often a terrible look due to their fit but this look is perfect and timeless.  


As for the game itself, it took place July 19, 1970 at Fenway Park.  More on that, after the jump.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

1972: Hooton Heaves (No-)Hits

*This post is part of an on-going series cataloging surviving broadcast footage from 1972 .

When rookie Burt Hooton took the mound on April 16, 1972 at Wrigley Field, he was likely just trying to solidify his spot in the Cubs pitching rotation.  What he ended up doing was etched his name into the record books. 


On that blustery Chicago afternoon, Hooton was not particularly sharp. While he struck out seven hitters and did not allow a hit, he issued seven walks.  He also dodge a few bullets thanks to some defensive help.  In fact, he may have only lived on in this game for as long as he did because manager Leo Durocher was sick and at home. After the jump, we will take a look at how much of the game survived and how a few key defensive stops made this day historic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Maz to Sandy to Gibby: Game 7s (Kinescoped)

To restate the old sportscaster’s adage: There are no two more exciting words in sports than ‘Game Seven’.  Tonight, we will be treated to only the second World Series Game 7 in 11 years.  The last one (2011) was personally a thrill for this Cardinals fan but certainly not the most dramatic of contests.    This prolonged drought of penultimate Fall Classic games is a far cry from how baseball seasons regularly concluded during the kinescope era.  From the inaugural broadcast in 1947 thru the dramatic 1975 tilt, there were 16 World Series that took all seven games. 



Some of these were defining moments for franchises or the sport as a whole, creating iconic images that are instantly recognizable.  Of these 16 games during this period, only 7 have survived.  Below is a look at the Game 7s, how they turned out and which ones we are lucky to still have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The 1972 Season: What has survived?

The charm of baseball exists in the peaks and valleys of a full season.  If you catch a World Series or a playoff game, you are getting a truly small sample size.  The six month scale of a season is what allows sabermetrics to have almost enough data to be relevant and allows fans to develop an opinion of their team’s players.  The World Series or All-Star game does not tell us the narrative of the season.  Instead, we get to hear the opinions of writers and broadcasters formulated through the lens of history, rather than as it is seen unfolding.   If baseball broadcasts today were archived in the scattered manner of years past, fans 30 years from now wouldn’t get to appreciate the two month long phenomenon of Puig-mania from 2013 or other like stories that come and go during the marathon of a season. 


When trying to find the most complete sampling of the oldest baseball season, it becomes a tough task with surviving baseball broadcasts.  While there are a few seasons with the All-Star Game and the entire World Series (1965, 1968) very few regular season games exist to flesh out a season.   Rolling back through the years, the 1972 season stands out, if for no other reason, because of the high volume of retained broadcast footage.

Monday, July 14, 2014

REVIEW: 45th MLB All-Star Game (1974)

As Major League Baseball gathers in Minneapolis for the 85th annual All-Star Game, I wanted to take a look back forty years ago at the 45th installment of the Mid Summer Classic.  Even in 1974, Major League Baseball used the All-Star Game to showcase their new (publicly paid for) ballparks.  Taking the field at three year old Three Rivers Stadium, the game was carried by NBC for the 29th straight time (25 years with 2 games in 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962).  



After the jump, we will take a walk through the broadcast and recap some of the important moments that transpired in The 'Burgh.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

60 Years of Orioles on TV (Part 1)

For their 60th anniversary, the Baltimore Orioles have opened up their archives and published scans of every media guide the team has put out since their move from St. Louis.  In this treasure trove of history, you will find such tidbits like Jim Hardin was a top-notch golfer in 1968 (with rounds in the 70s) or that 26.1% of all those who attended Orioles home games in 1954 were from out of town.  These time capsules of past seasons also give us an idea about how baseball approached television broadcasting. 
 


That’s what were are going to try to look at here today, how baseball broadcasting evolved for the Baltimore Orioles from their move out of the ‘Gateway to the West’ to ‘Charm City’.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The 45th Anniversary of 'Billy Williams Day'

On a day in which Billy Williams would tie and pass Stan Musial in a doubleheader against Stan's old team, we've been treated over and over again with bits and pieces of beautiful WGN color video footage.  While I have never been able to track down (through many attempts) how much of this footage WGN held on to, I'd like to mark the anniversary of Billy Williams Day by showing you footage that doesn't contain Billy Williams!

As I pointed out in this post nearly 2 years ago, Billy Williams Day featured one of the greatest of Wrigley treats: A Gibson/Jenkins duel.  The two would both throw the entire game with Gibson giving up the lead in the bottom of the 8th.


After the jump, we get some of the 9th inning action.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

This is not 1970 (Sept 7, 1969)

I'm sure it is difficult for MLB Productions, from time to time, to put together their 'clips' shows for seasons prior to 1980.  While they undoubtedly have more footage in their archives than any of know they have or will ever see, there are large gaps that they must try to fill with newsreel footage, broadcast news highlights and team highlight films.  It is often times disappointing that they will chose color 'film' clips over broadcast footage when putting together these shows but is somewhat understandable.

When they use footage that isn't even from the time period they are showcasing, however, I feel it creates a 'false history'.  That is exactly what happened in an episode of Baseball's Seasons focusing on the 1970 season.


When pointing out the contentious NL East race of 1970, they discussed the Cubs early season collapse and the assencion of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The problem is, they used footage from a late 1969 game between the two trying to punctuate the Cubs poor play.  More about it with extra footage after the jump.