First and foremost, Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope Santa brings you lots of classic baseball on DVD this year!
With the airing of the MLB Productions special Fenway Park Centennial: 100 Years on MLBNetwork the other night, I thought it would be nice to compile a list of the entirety of known footage from the October 1, 1967 game between the Red Sox and Twins.
The best part about running this site is having to keep a constant eye out for new footage and try to catalog both in print and your mind what has been seen, while trying to piece it together to understand how much of a broadcast has survived. With this new program, I got a brief glance at some footage I had never seen thus expanding on the amount of this game that was covered. After the jump, I'll talk about this 'Game 162' and what we have.
The 2011 Season ended with a flurish, causing pundits to call it things like "the day we've been waiting 140 years for" or "the most exciting day in baseball history". MLB Productions even created a documentary about the final day called "Game 162". However, it wasn't the first time the season was decided on the final day.
With expansion in 1961, Major League Baseball expanded their schedule beyond the traditional 154 games to the current 162. This was famously highlighted during Roger Maris' pursuit of Babe Ruth's single season homerun record. In those early years, the National League featured 2 races that went down to that final day. In 1962, the Dodgers and Giants forced themselves into a 3 game playoff to decide the NL pennant. With the collapse of the 1964 Phillies, that season featured the Cardinals, Phillies and Reds going into the final weekend vying for a spot. However, with the Cardinals finishing on Saturday, Phillies on Sunday and Reds playing 163 games there was no true final day battle.
The American League's first real taste of a Game 162 was in 1967. The Impossible Dream Red Sox, Killebrew's Twins and soon-to-be World Champion Detroit Tigers all entered the final day of the season tied for the AL's top spot. Techinically the Tigers were a half game back and a win on their part would have forced a playoff with the winner of the Red Sox/Twins games at Fenway that weekend.
What brought the excitement to a high level in the 2011 races was the way the drama played out on television. Carried nationally on the ESPN family of networks, fans watched in nearly simultaneous fashion (thanks to weather) the races all be decided on late inning hits. Similiarly, in 1967, a national television audience was able to see Game 162 play out.
Within the last 5 years, Major League Baseball has released the oldest color full broadcast known to exist. It comes from that 1967 season and was preserved by The Sports Museum (formally known as the New England Sports Museum). The game that was released, however, was Game 161. It is the local Boston broadcast featuring local announcers. The importance of that game warranted NBC to send their 'A-Squad' of Curt Gowdy and PeeWee Reese to Boston to do the Game of the Week from Fenway Park. They would also send their 'B-Squad' to Detroit to cover the Angels/Tigers matchup. No known footage exists of the NBC broadcast of that game other than a brief clip of the final out as seemingly preserved in Boston to show how the Red Sox clinched the pennant.
The interesting part of this comes from the documentary "Impossible to Forget" that accompanied the Game 161 DVD release. In it, there is audio of Curt Gowdy with Pee Wee Reese welcoming fans to the broadcast of the seasons FINAL DAY. NBC, realizing the importance of Game 162 following Boston's win on Saturday, aired a special broadcast in which they carried the game live nationally.
The "Impossible to Forget" feature had inter-cut clips from the original 1967 produced documentary 'Impossible Dream' aired by WHDH as well as remastered broadcast footage from that season. It really is a bit of a gold mine when it comes to broadcast footage from 1965 thru 1967. However, the newly produced special does not include ALL the broadcast footage that the original special showed.
Let's try to piece it all together now in chronological order for October 1, 1967:
These are some of the clips I saw in the "Fenway" program I had never seen before. First, we see the two managers, Cal Ermer and Dick Williams going over ground rules. The interesting part that I had never realized until something clicked in my head was Ermer's sunglasses. In the September 31st broadcast, he isn't wearing any, yet in this clip he is. That led me to look at the umpires comparing the two clips. There is a different homeplate umpire.
SEPT. 30 (from game broadcast)
Also shown are the team taking the field to start the game (BS 1967). Seen putting on his cap is Lonborg as he exits the dugout.
Finally, if you look closely at this clip of the fans giving the team a standing ovation as George Scott begins to warm up the rest of the squad, you will see Dick Williams return to the dugout with the lineup card in hand. If we use the September 30th broadcast as a base, that would mean the entire first inning (including pregame lineup exchange) exists.
Top Third Inning:
Here we see Yaz's big error. Killebrew hits a single out to LF and ball goes under Yaz's glove. This allows Tovar to score from first base on the play. The Red Sox go down 2-0. This clip is on the BS1967 program and includes game audio. The inning would end with Bob Allison striking out which also allows us to know that the later clip of Allison does not happen here.
Top Fourth Inning:
A young Rod Carew, now wearing the number 29, bats against Jim Lonborg in this clip. In the 1967 season, Carew only faced Lonborg in 1 game. It was October 1st, 1967. Carew grounds out to SS Rico Petrocelli and Rico, faced with Carew's speed makes a throw that almost pulls Scott off the bag. This clip, featured in BS1967, has broadcast audio as well.
Bottom Fourth Inning:
For the bottom of the 4th, there is so much footage that I'm just going to include the run times that show up with some various screenshots. All these clips include original pbp.
Lonborg's bunt: Impossible Dream (25 seconds)
Adair single to CF: Impossible Dream (25 seconds)
Jones single to LF: Impossible Dream (32 seconds)
Yaz's RBI single: Impossible Dream (43 seconds)
Before this at-bat, there is a bit of extra footage (with pbp audio) from BS1967 that shows a Yaz HR 45 sign that was highlighted on the broadcast before he stepped in to hit.
Harrelson's Fielder's Choice: Impossible Dream (23 seconds)
Twins pitching change: Impossible Dream (17 seconds)
Worthington's 1st Wild Pitch: Impossible Dream (12 seconds)
Worthington's 2nd Wild Pitch: Impossible Dream (11 seconds)
Killebrew's error: Impossible Dream (14 seconds)
Top Sixth Inning:
Bob Allison steps in against Jim Lonborg. At Fenway in 1967, Allison faced off against Lonborg in 2 games, and struckout twice. Both strikeouts came in Game 162. The first happened in the fourth inning with runners on. It was the last out of the inning. That part is important. As we see in this clip from BS1967, Allison strikes out and Lonborg stays on the mound waiting for the ball back from the catcher. He is pitching from the stretch, indicating a runner is at first. That makes this at-bat come from the sixth inning.
Top Ninth Inning:
Rod Carew Double Play: Impossible Dream (18 seconds)
Rollins pop out for Final Out and onfield celebration: Impossible Dream (38 seconds)
For the final Ninth inning clip, the Impossible Dream features voiceover work, while the Impossible to Forget clips feature the original broadcast audio. That leads me to believe that these original clips survived as they were broadcast, not just the Impossible Dream documentary.
People often ask why Game 161 was saved and not 162. I don't truly have an answer. I don't know that it is a case that Game 162 doesn't exist but more so it could be a case that Game 162 is not complete. We have two sources this game could have come from now, with the local Boston broadcast as well as NBC national feed. It makes very little sense that the Saturday game would survive and yet the Sunday game would be trashed.
The NBC audio for this game is available as part of the Miley Collection. The collection offered a recording of the TV audio that day totaling a runtime over 2:32. You can listen to snippets of the game through a podcast on MLB.com.
My belief, and this is based on nothing but pure conjecture, is that the article quote I highlighted long ago about the potential acquisition of two 1967 World Series games was actually the acquisition of these two 1967 Boston Red Sox games. Around that time is when the September 30th game came to light and it would not surprise me if Game 162 survived as well, although in a non-complete state. If that were the case, the beauty of the broadcast is that we have the audio from the NBC feed, in which MLB could 'hodge-podge' together that video and audio.
The sheer volume of footage from this game could not be accurately depicted in all these screengrabs. Through the various programs, I would say there is at least 5 minutes (pushing 10) worth of footage. What MLB has, we may not know for a while, however with the release of the recent Fenway boxset as well as other 'Best of' sets for the Red Sox, I am a bit puzzled we haven't seen more of this game.