Wednesday, October 29, 2014

From Maz to Sandy to Gibby: Game 7s (Kinescoped)

To restate the old sportscaster’s adage: There are no two more exciting words in sports than ‘Game Seven’.  Tonight, we will be treated to only the second World Series Game 7 in 11 years.  The last one (2011) was personally a thrill for this Cardinals fan but certainly not the most dramatic of contests.    This prolonged drought of penultimate Fall Classic games is a far cry from how baseball seasons regularly concluded during the kinescope era.  From the inaugural broadcast in 1947 thru the dramatic 1975 tilt, there were 16 World Series that took all seven games. 



Some of these were defining moments for franchises or the sport as a whole, creating iconic images that are instantly recognizable.  Of these 16 games during this period, only 7 have survived.  Below is a look at the Game 7s, how they turned out and which ones we are lucky to still have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The 1972 Season: What has survived?

The charm of baseball exists in the peaks and valleys of a full season.  If you catch a World Series or a playoff game, you are getting a truly small sample size.  The six month scale of a season is what allows sabermetrics to have almost enough data to be relevant and allows fans to develop an opinion of their team’s players.  The World Series or All-Star game does not tell us the narrative of the season.  Instead, we get to hear the opinions of writers and broadcasters formulated through the lens of history, rather than as it is seen unfolding.   If baseball broadcasts today were archived in the scattered manner of years past, fans 30 years from now wouldn’t get to appreciate the two month long phenomenon of Puig-mania from 2013 or other like stories that come and go during the marathon of a season. 


When trying to find the most complete sampling of the oldest baseball season, it becomes a tough task with surviving baseball broadcasts.  While there are a few seasons with the All-Star Game and the entire World Series (1965, 1968) very few regular season games exist to flesh out a season.   Rolling back through the years, the 1972 season stands out, if for no other reason, because of the high volume of retained broadcast footage.

Monday, July 14, 2014

REVIEW: 45th MLB All-Star Game (1974)

As Major League Baseball gathers in Minneapolis for the 85th annual All-Star Game, I wanted to take a look back forty years ago at the 45th installment of the Mid Summer Classic.  Even in 1974, Major League Baseball used the All-Star Game to showcase their new (publicly paid for) ballparks.  Taking the field at three year old Three Rivers Stadium, the game was carried by NBC for the 29th straight time (25 years with 2 games in 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962).  



After the jump, we will take a walk through the broadcast and recap some of the important moments that transpired in The 'Burgh.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

60 Years of Orioles on TV (Part 1)

For their 60th anniversary, the Baltimore Orioles have opened up their archives and published scans of every media guide the team has put out since their move from St. Louis.  In this treasure trove of history, you will find such tidbits like Jim Hardin was a top-notch golfer in 1968 (with rounds in the 70s) or that 26.1% of all those who attended Orioles home games in 1954 were from out of town.  These time capsules of past seasons also give us an idea about how baseball approached television broadcasting. 
 


That’s what were are going to try to look at here today, how baseball broadcasting evolved for the Baltimore Orioles from their move out of the ‘Gateway to the West’ to ‘Charm City’.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The 45th Anniversary of 'Billy Williams Day'

On a day in which Billy Williams would tie and pass Stan Musial in a doubleheader against Stan's old team, we've been treated over and over again with bits and pieces of beautiful WGN color video footage.  While I have never been able to track down (through many attempts) how much of this footage WGN held on to, I'd like to mark the anniversary of Billy Williams Day by showing you footage that doesn't contain Billy Williams!

As I pointed out in this post nearly 2 years ago, Billy Williams Day featured one of the greatest of Wrigley treats: A Gibson/Jenkins duel.  The two would both throw the entire game with Gibson giving up the lead in the bottom of the 8th.


After the jump, we get some of the 9th inning action.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

This is not 1970 (Sept 7, 1969)

I'm sure it is difficult for MLB Productions, from time to time, to put together their 'clips' shows for seasons prior to 1980.  While they undoubtedly have more footage in their archives than any of know they have or will ever see, there are large gaps that they must try to fill with newsreel footage, broadcast news highlights and team highlight films.  It is often times disappointing that they will chose color 'film' clips over broadcast footage when putting together these shows but is somewhat understandable.

When they use footage that isn't even from the time period they are showcasing, however, I feel it creates a 'false history'.  That is exactly what happened in an episode of Baseball's Seasons focusing on the 1970 season.


When pointing out the contentious NL East race of 1970, they discussed the Cubs early season collapse and the assencion of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The problem is, they used footage from a late 1969 game between the two trying to punctuate the Cubs poor play.  More about it with extra footage after the jump.

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.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Program Alert: Wrigley 100 (on WGN) this Sunday

This Sunday, WGN will air a two-hour special titled: "Wrigley 100: A Century Celebration" to honor the tie between WGN and the Chicago Cubs.  The program will air at 8 pm ET, 7 pm CT.


http://tribwgntv.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/wrigley100.jpg?w=640

 This season, WGN's website is running blog posts discussing events that have happened on that day at Wrigley.  Here is the description of the special:
Narrated by WGN Radio’s Steve Cochran and featuring custom drawings by cartoonist Drew Litton, the magic moments and memories of a century of baseball at Clark and Addison are told via interviews with over 60 different people, including Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo, Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg; as well as Kerry Wood, Rick Monday, Rick Sutcliffe, and Derrek Lee.  Visiting greats such as Hank Aaron, Vin Scully, Mike Schmidt, Albert Pujols, Bob Uecker and Paul Konerko will add their thoughts as well.  Other segments include Mike Ditka and Gale Sayers on playing for the Chicago Bears at Wrigley, fun and crazy moments at the park described by Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse, and an in-depth look at some of Wrigley’s greatest games.
Here is a YouTube clip of the intro to the special.

WGN has a special bond with this blog simply because a majority of our color content has come from surviving WGN specials.  I have contacted WGN in the past and they have told me on a few occasions that a cache of classic broadcasts aren't hidden away somewhere.  What we have seen is what exists.  I don't know that to be 100% true, as things can be mislabeled or misplaced but I would imagine if there is something new, we might see it on this weekend's show.