Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Monster and His "Hummer"

Dick Radatz was one of the first great power relievers in baseball history.  Dubbed ‘The Monster’ by opposing players, Radatz was a giant by baseball standards.  He had huge hands with a fastball that Curt Gowdy would dub a ‘hummer’.  From 1962-1965, Radatz was one of the best relievers in baseball and earned himself two All-Star Game appearances.    During a time when the Red Sox weren’t very good, Radatz was a star.   

In today’s post, we go sleuthing again to narrow down a date for some video broadcast clips of Radatz pitching against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Check Your Local Listings (1971 games on TV) Part 1

For years this blog has devoted time to finding out where a clip came from or what station may have shown it.  Rarely do we take a look to see what COULD be out there and hasn't been found yet.  As we get into the early 1970s, we see the phasing out of kinescopes and the rise of videotape and satellite hook-ups.  It becomes easier for stations to broadcast games coast-to-coast and beyond.  

As a disclaimer, not a single regular season game from the 1971 season has survived (to my knowledge).  There a few partials that exist of regular season tilts. Also, we have the glorious color videotape of the 1971 All-Star game and various post-season games have survived.  However, 1971 featured quite a few historical moments and hopefully we can try to account for which of them actually made it on-air.  Once we have a true account of what games were broadcast, then we can take a look at some of the partials and get more in-depth into each of them.

Part One of this feature focuses on the American League and their distribution of their product. By the time we reached 1971, the American League was finally starting to catch up with the National League talent wise following a slow integration process.  While their approach to talent had been slow to change, let's take a look to see how their approach to television grew.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"in the friendly confines of beautiful Wrigley Field"

Joining the 500 Homerun club is hard enough, but often it seems getting from 499 to 500 can be the hardest part.  Players will often go through an extended stretch before reaching the milestone event.  That is what made Albert Pujols hitting 499 and 500 in the same game (not just the same day) all the more rare.  Sadly, the last 25 years of the homerun deluge took value away from reaching those counting number milestones.  You would think, in 2014 with at least 4 cable channels carrying games nationally weekly, that the game would be carried outside of the local markets.  However, much like when Mays or Aaron hit their 500th, coverage was as minimal as it could get.

As was pointed out in this post a few years ago, nine players hit their 500th homerun between 1960 and 1980.  During that time, many owners still saw television broadcasts as cutting into their attendance.  A few did not.  Thanks to major markets like New York and Chicago, some of these events were televised.  In the case of Ernie Banks, WGN actually preserved homeruns 498, 499 and 500.  

Ernie Banks ended the 1969 season needing three homeruns to become the 9th member of the club.  In speaking with Jack Brickhouse during Spring Training, Banks said that he'd hoped the number 500 would come on April 14th at the home opener "in the friendly confines of beautiful Wrigley Field".  Banks would be right about hitting 500 at Wrigley, but would be off by nearly a month.