Monday, August 13, 2012

Bob Gibson in COLOR! (and Billy Williams Day)

A treasure trove of color broadcast clips come from what WGN has saved over the years.  What exactly they saved as far as just clips or full length games, no one really knows.  However, there have been a plethora of video clips in the trading community that people have seen so often, they just take for granted.  However, the other day a clip caught my eye that I had never seen before.

That man standing on the mound, in beautiful color video tape, is Bob Gibson.  He is standing in the middle of the field at Wrigley Field, pitching against the 1st place Chicago Cubs.  What game this is and what the rest of the footage shows, after the jump.

Gibson is facing Ernie Banks in this clip, in what turns out to be the doubleheader of Billy Williams day.  Billy Williams Day took place June 29, 1969.  The purpose of having the celebration on that day was that serendipitously,  Williams was to tie and pass Stan Musial for most consecutive games played in the National League in the first and then second games that day.  Here is an article in the Milwaukee Sentential about the game.

In the first game, Gibson had a four hit, nine strikeout shutout going into the bottom of the 8th inning.  The inning would then proceed as follows (courtesy of baseball-reference) :
Bottom of the 8th, Cubs Batting, Tied 0-0, Cardinals' Bob Gibson facing 3-4-5
b8 0-0 0 ---

CHC B. Williams B. Gibson 13% 74% Double to LF
b8 0-0 0 -2-
O CHC R. Santo B. Gibson -9% 65% Strikeout
b8 0-0 1 -2-
R CHC E. Banks B. Gibson 21% 87% Single to CF (Ground Ball thru SS-2B); Williams Scores
b8 1-0 1 1--
RR CHC W. Smith B. Gibson 10% 97% Home Run; Banks Scores
b8 3-0 1 ---
O CHC R. Hundley B. Gibson -0% 97% Foul Flyball: 1B
b8 3-0 2 ---
O CHC D. Young B. Gibson -0% 97% Groundout: 2B-1B

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.  

For Williams' part, he collected 5 hits on the day, falling a homerun short of the cycle in the second game of the doubleheader.

Although not of the same quality, here is a grainy video clip that has yellowed and is extremely dirty that shows Williams hitting the leadoff double off of Gibson to start the inning.  I am not sure if it is broadcast footage or not, nor if it is part of this larger clip.

Between games, the Cubs had a ceremony for Williams that includes him being presented with a form of recognition as well as having his family down on the field with him.  When this clip is usually shown by MLB, it does not include the parts in which Williams speaks with his family beside him.  I have to believe that WGN recorded (and preserved) the entire ceremony. 

If WGN did so, with these 8th inning clips, I have to believe they preserved the 8th (and possibly the top of the 9th) inning in complete form.  I have been told that a great deal of this footage exists in the film Cubs Fever, but I haven't verified it.  If more from Billy Williams Day exists in that program, I would be interested to know.

Here is another interesting aside, in that WGN produced clip, you will see at the 4:26 mark, two more clips that appear to be from Billy Williams Day but Game 2.  It appears Banks crushes a HR over Brock's head off of Mudcat Grant and Ron Santo bashes one off on Mike Torrez, and is then seen rounding 1st base past Bill White.

I would love to see the complete, unedited footage WGN has from this game.  I have a funny feeling about the relationship between MLB and WGN.  Over the last few years, there have been a number of clips that through WGN produced programs I have seen beautiful color video tape broadcast clips and when similar events are shown on MLB, they are black and white kinescopes.  Through whatever rights quibbles the two may have, we may not fully know what WGN has tucked away.

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