"They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays." – Ted Williams
With this broadcast, we have the lone full game that features a Willie Mays homerun. Willie didn’t waste any time as he took the second pitch he saw deep into the left-center stands. Mays, wearing Billy Williams batting helmet, batted lead off in this game. Mays batted leadoff in 8 All-Star Games, something he rarely did in the regular season.
As for the broadcast, it is a mixed bag. The footage is very ‘watchable’ but is only slightly better than the 1968 All-Star Game kinescope and nowhere near as crisp as the 1965 or 1968 World Series kinescope. The print suffers from a large amount of dirt and the original recording appears to have been record with a considerable amount of OTA static and noise.
Evidenced above, you can see that NBC is using their 4 year old Instant Replay technology. Whenever NBC cue'd up the footage, a signal disruption wiped the screen of the live feed and momentarily began the replay. Likewise, NBC had atleast 5 camera angles in this broadcast. The baseline camera (both sides), the high angle above homeplate, the CF camera and the behind homeplate cameras were all in use.
When digitizing the print, MLB seems to have not applied any post-enhancements. There are major contrast problems, either due to lack of lens filters during the broadcast or lighting changes in the kinescope recording environment. I lean more towards it being during the broadcast as only certain camera angles continually suffer from it. Having been spoiled over the last 15 years by great restorations of classic prints involving films, it is a bit disheartening that MLB doesn’t invest the resources in preserving and restoring these classic broadcast. Clearly, it lacks the revenue that a restored print of The Wizard of Oz or North by Northwest brings back to the restoring studio but these broadcast are disappearing treasures that once gone we can’t ever get back.
For MLB Network’s credit, they included a few of the classic commercials. The traditional sponsors such as Gillette and Plymouth were left in. What other commercials existed, I don’t know as there doesn’t seem to be a copy of this broadcast unedited in the trading community. Annoyingly, MLB Network ran their ‘baseline’ throughout the entire broadcast, taking away from the experience.
Part of the past allure of the ASG was that it was often the only time you got to see your favorite players square off against the best of another franchise. An interesting example is the late game at-bat between Willie Horton and Bob Gibson. In the 1968 World Series, Horton is famously the 17th strikeout (as well as the 4th) in Game 1 of that series. Here, in this 1965 game, Horton faces Gibson for the first time in his career. How does Gibson handle the at-bat? He throws him a first pitch curveball for a foul strike, then lets one slip right above Horton’s head. Gibson relied heavily on his breaking ball in the at-bat. In the ’68 series, Horton struckout 5 times, picking up 2 hits out of 11 at-bats vs Hoot, taking his ‘career’ numbers to 2-12 with 6 k’s vs Gibby. He would later face Gibson one final time in the 1970 ASG, going 1-for-1 with a single.
Unfortunately, a lot of the pregame footage is cut from the broadcast. There are quite a few jumpcuts that eliminate the introduction of the broadcast, the introduction of the reserves, the national anthem, etc. Hopefully someday MLB releases the full broadcast of this game either on DVD or on digital media outlets. Even if they do, the likelihood of the broadcast being unedited is slim, as even the 2004 NLCS games they’ve released have a lot of the pregame footage and postgame interviews chopped. When they released the 1968 World Series Game 1, they did the same even though both exist in their entirety in the trading community.