Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We're off on the road to Morro---er, Pittsburgh

By now, I'm sure all of you have heard the story. But it is worth retelling on this, the 50th anniversary of 'The Game'. Some say this game alone is what got the sure-handed Bill Mazeroski into the HOF. On this date, 50 years ago at 3:36 pm, the 2nd basemen did what few men could do: Brought the powerhouse Yankees to their knees.

Last month it was reported that the curator of the Bing Crosby estate had contacted MLB about a rare print he had found in the basement. Robert Bader told them that he had found a print that when projected seemed to show the complete broadcast of the 1960 World Series. As he tells it, they replied back to him "You must be mistaken..." Yet, there is was, in the basement/wine cellar/film vault of the old crooner.

What makes this story remarkable is that no one ever thought to look or for that matter no Pirates historian never even thought of it. The closest we came to that was a lead Doak Ewing once had, per a 2006 USA Today article:

Another find would be Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, which ended in a Pittsburgh Pirates championship on Bill Mazeroski's ninth-inning home run against the New York Yankees.

Ewing once thought he had a lead on that one. He recalled hearing that the family of late Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh had it. He contacted the manager's widow and son, who checked and discovered only the Series highlight film. "I've been on a lot of wild goose chases," Ewing says.

The story goes that Crosby, part owner of the Buccos, was so superstitious that he took his family to Paris to avoid jinxing the team. While overseas, he had the game filmed on kinescope so that should they win, he could watch it in the comfort of his own home.

First and foremost, it should be pointed out that the print is in black and white. Not that it makes any difference but we could have held out hope Bing dropped the coin for Technicolor. Kidding aside, the first glimpses of the broadcast have popped up on ABC TV.

MLB Network just recently announced that, like the 1965 MLB All-Star Game, the game will be rebroadcast nationally for only the 2nd time ever on December 15th. Like with their other classic game broadcasts (Larsen's perfect game) they will pre-film the players watching the broadcast with interviews by Bob Costas. This will take place November 13th.

This print should be, baring any environmental damage due to being in a basement, in near pristine order. Any wear it has would have come during the viewings by Crosby and subsequently by Bader when checking the print. MLB has already copied the 16mm print to digital copy for distribution on DVD. No release date has been set, nor has any details about what set it could be included in.

If MLB wanted to get really creative, they could do a Game 7s of the Mantle' Yankees. Known broadcasts include 1952(MLB), 1957(Rare Sports), 1960 (MLB)off the top of my head. They could also do walkoff World Series game winning hits, Maz (1960), Larkin (1991), Carter (1993), Renteria (1997), Gonzalez (2001).

Here is a shot of Clemente's error in the 2nd inning:

Great find!


  1. It's great this was found, and the fact that not even someone as rich as Crosby could have afforded to have had the game preserved in videotape for his own viewing really goes to show how remote the chances of ever finding an older baseball telecast in that format is.

    Crosby had made arrangements for a company to make a clinching kinescope for him to see, and since the Pirates had been up 3-2 in the series I think it's likely the same company would have started to do Game 6, but undoubtedly did not keep it in light of the 10-0 Yankees blowout win!

  2. Any hope of videotape will come directly sourced from the station airing the game or the production truck. Finding something like that would have either been stolen, given away or discovered in a closet relating to an actual station.

    As for that, I haven't come across whether Crosby was gone for Game 6 or not. He would have had 21.5 hours from the end of Game 6 to get to Paris in time for Game 7. I doubt he took a non-stop flight from Pittsburgh to Paris, and being as superstitious as he was he probably wasn't even in the 'Burgh. Anyways, it would have taken him almost 10 hours flight time, so it is feasible he could have left after Game 6.

    Great point to bring up though.