View Full Version : Game 7, 1960 World Series - BEFORE Mazeroski's HR

09-30-2010, 09:22 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/sport ... e.html?hpw (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/01/sports/baseball/01mantle.html?hpw)

Interesting perspective on what happened just before the home run.

Written from a NY point of view of course, but a nice bit of history all around.

The link has some very fuzzy photos, but somehow they add to the whole thing, I think...

# The New York Times Reprints
September 30, 2010
50 Years Later, a Slide Still Confounds

The play — a pivotal moment in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series — demanded expert analysis.

But when Mickey Mantle slid headfirst back into first base in the top of the ninth inning to avoid a game-ending double play and allow the tying run to score, there was no analyst working in the TV booth with Mel Allen at Forbes Field. There was no one to set up the situation beforehand nor to break down the play after it occurred. There was only one live camera angle and no instant replay.

It was a different world then, and a much simpler one. Allen and Bob Prince made up the World Series TV pairing — one play-by-play announcer from each team, each calling half the game. It was Allen’s turn in Game 7 to call the second set of four and a half innings.

“The old way depended largely on the skill and panache of the local-team announcers” who knew the teams well, said Curt Smith, a sportscasting historian.

Today, that legendary ninth inning, which began with the Yankees tying the score at 9-9 and ended with Bill Mazeroski’s home run winning the Series for Pittsburgh, would have been produced far differently on television.

In the top of the ninth, with the Yankees trailing by 9-8 and with one out, Mantle on first and Gil McDougald on third, today’s cameras would have made clear whether the Pirates’ infielders were at double-play depth or playing in for a play at the plate. The broadcasters would have debated which of the two was the right strategy. To enhance the end-of-game tension, there would have been rapid camera cuts to Mantle and McDougald, to Yogi Berra at bat and to Harvey Haddix on the mound.

And the dramatic, and confounding, play that followed — Berra’s sharp grounder to first baseman Rocky Nelson for the second out; Mantle’s subsequent elusiveness, moxie and perhaps outright recklessness in then diving safely under Nelson and back into first as the tying run scored — would be synchronized on a split screen and then examined and re-examined. Questions would be asked, answered and asked all over again, on the broadcast.

The 50-year-old kinescope of the game — which The New York Times reported last week was found in Bing Crosby’s old wine cellar — does not do any of that. Why, for instance, didn’t Nelson, upon fielding Berra’s grounder, throw to second to start a double play that would have ended the game?

Why, after instead stepping on first for the second out, did Nelson try to tag Mantle for the third out instead of firing home to Hal Smith, the Pirates’ catcher, for a tag play on McDougald? If he had thrown home, would McDougald have been safe or out? And what was Mantle doing so close to first base anyway? Why didn’t he immediately take off for second when Berra hit the ball on the ground?

Providing that analysis 50 years later was an interesting challenge. Asked to watch and comment on the play, Keith Hernandez, the Mets’ analyst on SNY, was, more than anything, astonished by Mantle’s evasive slide back into first. “An amazing presence of mind to do what he did,” Hernandez said while studying the sequence on his laptop at Citi Field. “What a play, huh?”

An e-mail response from Berra, through his spokesman, provided a bit of insight. “I hit the heck out of it,” he said of the one-hop grounder that the left-handed Nelson backhanded before quickly stepping on first.

But in doing so, Nelson’s momentum pulled his left foot into foul territory. “The ball ate him up,” Hernandez said of Nelson.

The camera then shows Nelson turning back to the field, his left arm briefly cocked to throw. But to where? To shortstop Dick Groat, who was covering second? That might mean getting Mantle in a rundown play, but meanwhile the tying run would score easily. To Smith, at the plate? Smith said in a phone interview that he thought Nelson was going to throw home to him so he could tag McDougald and end the game.

“I thought we had a shot at McDougald,” Smith said, adding that he asked Nelson years ago why he did not throw home and that Nelson told him, “To be truthful, I didn’t see you.”

What Nelson did see was Mantle standing right near him, maybe eight feet away, temporarily frozen in a predatory crouch.

“I understand Rocky’s position,” Smith said. “He sees a runner right there and thinks he can get him. He thought he could get Mantle.”

Groat said in a phone interview that it was “easy to say in hindsight” that Nelson should have thrown home. Hernandez said that although Nelson probably had the time to throw home, he might have been thinking, “Oh, my God, there’s Mickey!”

As Hernandez watched the final part of the play unfold in slow motion, he saw that Nelson, as he moved to tag Mantle, was too far from the bag, with his feet on the outfield side of first base. Still, Mantle must have looked to him like a certain out — except that Nelson was not a nimble match for the still-quick Yankee star, who was a week from turning 29.

“It was like the elephant and the gazelle,” Hernandez said.

For a split second, Mantle and Nelson eyed each other. Mantle made an initial move toward first, then gave a head fake toward second. He quickly reversed himself, sliding and sprawling toward first on the inner side of the bag with his left hand reaching out.

Nelson lunged forward, angling himself toward Mantle instead of moving to the base.

“I would have caught him right in front of the bag and blocked him,” Hernandez said of Mantle.

There were numerous New York newspapers in 1960, but their accounts of the play were not elaborate. However, Mantle, who died in 1995, did tell The Daily News that he started for second base when Berra hit the grounder but knew that Nelson “had me dead either way, so I ducked down and went underneath as he tried to tag me.”

Of course, even if Mantle had been tagged as he dived back to first, is it possible McDougald would have already crossed home plate, which would have meant the run still counted? One more question that is not easy to answer.

Looking back 50 years, Hernandez said that he would have done what Nelson did — step on first immediately, then try to tag Mantle to end the game instead of throwing home. “I can’t blame the guy,” he said of Nelson. “You have to make the play. It’s right there in front of you.”

“Kudos to Mantle,” he added. “What a deke.”

09-30-2010, 10:00 PM
Did you guys know Bing Crosby was a part owner of the Pirates that year?

Or that Roberto Clemente was on that Series winning team?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/sport ... sby&st=cse (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/sports/baseball/24crosby.html?scp=2&sq=bing%20crosby&st=cse)

# The New York Times Reprints

September 23, 2010
In Bing Crosby’s Wine Cellar, Vintage Baseball

How a near pristine black-and-white reel of the entire television broadcast of the deciding game of the 1960 World Series — long believed to be lost forever — came to rest in the dry and cool wine cellar of Bing Crosby’s home near San Francisco is not a mystery to those who knew him.

Crosby loved baseball, but as a part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates he was too nervous to watch the Series against the Yankees, so he and his wife went to Paris, where they listened by radio.

“He said, ‘I can’t stay in the country,’ ” his widow, Kathryn Crosby, said. “ ‘I’ll jinx everybody.’ ”

He knew he would want to watch the game later — if his Pirates won — so he hired a company to record Game 7 by kinescope, an early relative of the DVR, filming off a television monitor. The five-reel set, found in December in Crosby’s home, is the only known complete copy of the game, in which Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a game-ending home run to beat the Yankees, 10-9. It is considered one of the greatest games ever played.

Crosby, the singer and movie, radio and TV star, had more foresight than the television networks and stations, which erased or discarded nearly all of the Major League Baseball games they carried until the 1970s.

A canny preservationist of his own legacy, Crosby, who died in 1977, kept a half-century’s worth of records, tapes and films in the wine cellar turned vault in his Hillsborough, Calif., home.

“Bing Crosby was way ahead of his time,” said Nick Trotta, senior library and licensing manager for Major League Baseball Productions, the sport’s archivist.

Three years ago, Major League Baseball acquired the rights to Yankees pitcher Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series — leaving the finale of the 1960 World Series high on its wish list. The hunt for old games — this one unseen on TV since its original broadcast — is constant, subject to serendipity and often futile. Great games like Game 7 in 1960 are often recalled with just a few newsreel clips.

Crosby was so superstitious about hexing his Pirates that he and Kathryn listened to the game with their friends Charles and Nonie de Limur in Paris.

“We were in this beautiful apartment, listening on shortwave, and when it got close Bing opened a bottle of Scotch and was tapping it against the mantel,” Kathryn Crosby said. “When Mazeroski hit the home run, he tapped it hard; the Scotch flew into the fireplace and started a conflagration. I was screaming and Nonie said, ‘It’s very nice to celebrate things, but couldn’t we be more restrained?’ ”

After Crosby viewed the 2-hour-36-minute game, probably in a screening room in the house, the films took their place in the vault, said Robert Bader, vice president for marketing and production for Bing Crosby Enterprises.

They remained there undisturbed until December, when Bader was culling videotapes of Crosby’s TV specials for a DVD release — part of the estate’s goal of resurrecting his body of work.

He spotted two reels lying horizontally in gray canisters labeled “1960 World Series.” They were stacked close to the ceiling with home movies and sports instructional films. An hour or so later, he found three others on other shelves. Intrigued, he screened the 16-millimeter film on a projector. It was Game 7, called by the Yankees’ Mel Allen and the Pirates’ Bob Prince — the complete NBC broadcast. The film had not degraded and has been transferred to DVD.

“I had to be the only person to have seen it in 50 years,” Bader said. “It was just pure luck.”

Bader’s call to M.L.B. officials last spring initiated months of talks that have led to an agreement allowing the MLB Network to televise the game in December, and to wrap interviews and other programming around it, with Bob Costas as the host. M.L.B. also plans to sell DVDs of the game.

“It’s a time capsule,” Trotta said.

Hearing of the broadcast’s discovery, Jim Reisler, a historian born in Pittsburgh, sounded stunned.

“Wow,” he said. His book about the game — “The Best Game Ever” — would have benefited from seeing the NBC production, he said; he relied on the radio call. “It would have given me a greater sense of the tremendous ebb and flow of the game,” he said.

Dick Groat, the Pirates’ shortstop, said: “It was such a unique game to begin with. It was back and forth, back and forth. It was unbelievable.”

The production is simple by today’s standards. NBC appeared to use about five cameras. The graphics were simple (the players’ names and little else) and rarely used. There were no instant replays, no isolated cameras, no analysis, no dugout reporters and no sponsored trivia quizzes.

Viewers looked at the hand-operated Forbes Field scoreboard, which on that day (of 19 runs and 24 hits) got a vigorous workout. Occasionally they saw newsreel cameras atop the ballpark roof.

Prince and Allen rarely interacted, with Prince calling the first half and Allen the second. That put Allen on the air for Yogi Berra’s three-run homer in the sixth inning (Allen first called it foul); Pirates catcher Hal Smith’s eighth-inning homer to put Pittsburgh on top, 9-7 (“That base hit will long be remembered,” Allen said as the film showed Roberto Clemente — Allen called him Bob — bounding around the bases with joy); and Mazeroski’s winning drive to left field (“And the fans go wild,” Allen said).

The game included the play on which a ground ball hit by Bill Virdon to Yankees shortstop Tony Kubek kicked off the dirt and hit him in the Adam’s apple. Kubek fell on his back, sat up within a minute looking dazed, stood up, then lobbied Manager Casey Stengel unsuccessfully to stay in.

It also included remarkable base running by Mickey Mantle with one out in the top of the ninth. The Yankees were trailing, 9-8, with Mantle on first and Gil McDougald on third. Berra hit a sharp grounder that was grabbed by first baseman Rocky Nelson, who quickly stepped on the bag for the second out. For a split second, Nelson seemed ready to throw home in time for a tag play on McDougald for the final out of the World Series.

But Nelson immediately became distracted by Mantle, who never took off for second when Berra hit the ball and was now standing just a few feet away. Nelson reached to tag Mantle, but Mantle made a feint and dived back safely into first. McDougald scored, and the score was tied, 9-9.

“How about that?” Allen said after Mantle’s play. But just minutes later, Mazeroski stepped to the plate. NBC’s sound was good enough to hear a fan shout, “Just get on, Billy, get on!” Mazeroski did more than that. After his home run, fans poured onto the field and danced on the Pittsburgh dugout.

Only later did Bing Crosby witness the joy and jubilation recorded just for him.

“I can still see Bing hitting the mantel with the Scotch,” Kathryn Crosby said.

10-01-2010, 09:48 AM
Thanks for posting.

I never saw the inning before where the Yanks tied up the game. Interesting story and perspective on the game.

10-01-2010, 10:21 AM
You're welcome!

I read somewhere last night that the entire game (from Bing Crosby's "cinemascope" discovered last month) will be on TV this December.

10-01-2010, 10:47 AM
If you hear any more let us know. I'd love to see it and I'm sure some others would too.

01-11-2011, 10:35 AM
On the MLB viewing of the game with Costas, several Pirates and Bobby Richardson, Richardson stated that years later Mantle told him that " he froze " and then made the best of the situation. This explanation actually seems to better explain what happened. It seems ( to me anyway ) that Mantle's freezing was more likely than his "genius" thinking as the play happened in a split second.