Saturday, December 5, 2009

June 7, 1969 - Reds vs Cubs (in Living Color, I swear!)

Once again, MLB Network has provided glorious fodder for me to dredge the internet looking for exact moments their footage shows. The recent Baseball Seasons 1969 episode gave me a slew of footage I'll be talking about in the next few weeks. However, I'm going to start with yet ANOTHER Chicago Cubs game. This one comes from the World Seri....oh wait.

Anyways, let's run down the clip:

The Reds pitcher is #30 Jim Merritt. He only pitched at Wrigley Field twice in 1969. The batter is #14 Mr. Cub Ernie Banks. He homered in BOTH games that season at Wrigley vs Merritt. Just for good measure, that is Ron Santo standing on 2B.

The two games in question are June 7th and August 26th. On June 7th, Santo hit an RBI single in the 1st inning and advanced to 2B on a wild pitch before Banks homered. On August 26th, Banks hit a solo shot in the 4th inning.

Randy Hundley (#9) is the following hitter and he followed Banks directly only on June 7th.

To be clear, I am sure this a 1969 video clip because of the centennial patch on the sleeves of all the players.

Next, we have a clip of Cubs pitcher #49 Bill Hands pitching to #23, Reds slugger Lee May. Lee May will ground out to 3B Ron Santo for a putout at 1B. Lee May only faced Bill Hands in two games in 1969 at Wrigley Field, June 7th and August 25th.

On August 25th, he lit Hands up but recorded his only two outs with two strikeouts. On June 7th, May grounded out to 3B Ron Santo in the 6th inning with the bases empty.

So, I can say with 100% certainty that this footage comes from this game. The question is, how much really exists? We've got two clips from two completely different innings and very seperate parts of the ballgame.

To add more mystery to the situation, I searched a thread I stumbled upon a bit ago on, a Broadcast Map website. In it was included all the NBC Game of the Week broadcasts from 1967-1971. On the list, was found:

Cincinnati @ Chicago Cubs--Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek
Washington @ Minnesota--Jim Simpson, Sandy Koufax

What is interesting was this comment by poster 'BearFan':

The June 7th 1969 game with the Reds visiting the Cubs had something unusual about it. Because the Cubs televised every home game and the Reds did all Saturday away games, there weren't enough COLOR television lines for NBC. They had to keep running disclaimers about it since the Game of the Week was in glorious, black and white that day. It's difficult to believe that even though it was about a month prior to landing people on the moon, color television transmission had not fully matured yet.

So, what feed are we looking at here? I can tell you that the audio doesn't seem to be from a Cubs broadcast. The announcer is very subdued, like Curt Gowdy traditionally would be and it lacks the trademark 'Hey Hey' of Jack Brickhouse. From an audio standpoint, this would either be the NBC feed or the Reds feed. In 1969, the Reds were on WLWT (an NBC affiliate). The PBP announcer was Ed Kennedy. I am not fimiliar with the protocol on this, whether a local NBC affiliate would go to all the cost of creating their own broadcast for a Saturday game while the National NBC team were going to be doing a broadcast of the very same game.

Either way, I'm very intrigued by this footage....because according to the MLB Records, this game NEVER HAPPENED. Due to the lack of lights at Wrigley Field, the game was called at 3:50 pm amidst rain. The National League decided to restart the game from scratch on August 26th as part of a day-day doubleheader at Wrigley Field. The stats, however, were retained by the individual players for the day. Which, statistically, would have moved Ernie Banks from a tie on the career HR list with Eddie Mathews down to a tie with Mel Ott.
We will probably never know how much of this footage MLB has in their vault. When little clips like this pop up, you have to keep an eye-out and hope more can be pieced together from a certain game. What we do know is that 2 at-bats (one from the 1st inning and the 6th) have been preserved from a game that technically never happened.


  1. HL,
    I was going through some old VHS tapes that I am throwing out and found the McGwire "62" game vs. the Cubs from 9/8/98. The only reason I would think you would have any interest in this one is because it is the WGN broadcast and has a neat in game interview with Jack Buck, Steve Stone and Chip Caray. Let me know if you have any use for it, otherwise I will be throwing it out.

  2. I've sent you an email at your listed address.

  3. hile watching a replay just before New Year's on MLB of Game 6 of the 1952 series, there is a feature piece on Casey Stengel in between innings. There is color videotape from Wrigley Field, either 1964 or 1965. Casey is being interviewed on field; I can't determine who it is, but is sort of looks like Pee Wee Reese. Any clues? I'm also saw the hour special on 1967 - that is chuck full of color videotape highlights. Where are these coming from and how does one get them!

  4. I recorded the 1967 broadcast and I'll be breaking that down over the next few weeks. Needless to say, it appears that A LOT of the October 1st broadcast exists as well, not just the Sept. 30th color broadcast that is available on DVD.

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  6. Those "Baseball's Seasons" episodes rock!

    What we need is a mole who reads this site and works for MLB and who is willing to do some vault-diving late at night and get in touch with you to let you know what all they have.

  7. I'm waiting on a copy of footage from 1967 before putting up a post. I'm trying to piece together some things that hopefully will be the most comprehensive post I've done yet.

    Thanks for following.

    As a Cub fan in the days of the 6-7-69 clips; the camera angle behind the plate of the two clips #3 & #4, I don't recall as one of WGN's.

    A freebie for '69 Lovers.
    A real treat can be found at The site is a legit media archive outfit, from Chicago.
    "A Look at the Cubs, 1970", is a 30 minute preview of the '70 Cubs, produced by the Chicago Station 9 (WGN).What is should be called, is a Look Back at '69. Nearly the entire program is highlights from the '69 season, as called by Jack Brickhouse & Co.

    Also, in 1986, a "Dream Game '86" was played in Arizona. The Dream Game ('69 Cubs vs. '69 Met's), was a couple day get together around Valentine's Day '86.

    Again, it was Chicago Station 9 (WGN), as they produced in those ('86) days a program called "Once a Star". Several of the shows, highlighted highlights and interviews from the "Dream Game '86".

    "Once a Star raw: Phoenix, Arizona #1-10", is just what it implies, raw. For the several shows WGN eventually aired, as you would guess, several hours of 'raw' tape (following players around; arriving, dinner, emcee ceremonies, etc.) was made. The episodes 1 - 10 raw, are those several (3 + - ) hours of raw tape. While emphasis is on WGN's Cubs, Met fans may also enjoy the likely rarely seen clips.

    You may want to try a cut and paste of the, Once a Star raw: Phoenix, Arizona #1, 2, 3, etc. As the clips did not play for me in sequence.

    Hey! Hey!