“We made too many wrong mistakes.”*

mazeroski by daveynin
‘How About That?’
[Via Daring Fireball]

The television broadcast of game seven of the 1960 World Series was long considered lost. A copy has been found, apparently in good condition, in Bing Crosby’s wine cellar/media vault:

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.

MLB plans to broadcast the game in December.

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*Yogi Berra describing how the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series.

Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1969 World Series. The Yankees had tied it up in the top of the ninth. No other game 7 has ended in such a dramatic fashion.

But it was more than just that. The last two innings had some of the most exciting baseball ever.The Pirates went into the eighth inning down by 1, 5-4. And the Yankees scored two in the top of the eight to go up by 3. Here is what happened in the bottom of the eighth:

The Pirates opened the bottom of the eighth inning with singles by Gino Cimoli (pinch-hitting for Face), then Virdon (the latter’s was on a ground ball to short for what could have been a double play; instead the ball took a bad hop and struck Kubek in the throat [Kubek had to leave the game.]). Dick Groat then chased Bobby Shantz (who had entered the game in the third and had pitched five innings, after not pitching more than four during the regular season) with a single to score Cimoli. Jim Coates replaced Shantz and got Skinner out on a sacrifice bunt, which moved the runners up. Nelson followed with a fly ball to right, and when Virdon declined to challenge Maris’ throwing arm, Coates was one out away from getting the Yankees out of their most serious trouble of the afternoon.

However, a lapse by Coates allowed the Pirates to keep their inning alive. After stopping Roberto Clemente’s ground ball, first baseman Skowron turned and prepared to throw to Coates covering first, but Coates, thinking Skowron would make the play himself, wasn’t there, having stopped midway to the base. [Actually if you watch the film that was put together – minute 38 – it appears that Coates actually tried to make the play himself but his path took him too far away from the base to get back for the throw. It’ll be nice to see a different angle from the TV cameras rather than the edited film. It may well be that Clemente would have beaten the throw because of the slow roller hit.] Skowron was forced to hold onto the ball, and Virdon scored to cut the Yankee lead to 7–6. Hal Smith followed with a three-run home run to give the Pirates a 9–7 lead. Ralph Terry relieved Coates and got the last out.

A lapse by the pitcher allowed the Pirates to get 4 more runs with only one out needed to have prevented all of them. It is very likely that the error Coates made at first had an effect on his focus, resulting in a 3 run homer to the next batter. Instead of being 7-5 Yankees, it was now 9-7 Pirates.

But the Yankees got two in the top of the ninth, tying the game. But the tying run was not without its oddity – a mental error by MIckey Mantle that almost cost the Yankees the game.

With one out, a man on third and Mickey Mantle on first. Yogi Berra hit a ball to first. The first baseman stepped on first, making Berra the second out. Then, MIckey Mantle made would might have been his fatal error – getting himself tagged out for the third out before the run crossed the plate. The first baseman, by touching first, removed the automatic force out. He would have to tag Mantle to get him out, usually in a rundown. If Mantle could occupy the first baseman and prevent himself from being tagged before the runner at third crossed the plate, the run would count and tie the game.

Mantle strangely immediately dove back to first, providing the real possibility he could be tagged out before the run scored. Luckily for him, the first baseman did not really expect that Mantle would try and come back so quickly. If the first baseman had been ready, he might have tagged Mantle out for the third out before the run scored – the run that tied the game at 9.

But Mantle went around the first baseman – who expected Mantle to be moving towards second. As a left hander, the first baseman had the ball in his left hand to throw to second. This normally requires him to take a short step towards the outfield so that the thrown ball will not hit the runner. That is one reason first basemen are usually left handed. They can throw quicker to second because they do not have to turn their body, as a right handed player would. Here, that step allowed Mantle room to get back. Mantle scooted around to the infield side and evaded the tag.

If the first baseman had been right handed he might have easily tagged Mantle, because his move to second would most likely has been on the infield side, right where Mantle was going. Instead the first baseman was moving in the wrong direction, giving Mantle just enough space to get back to the base, and not making the third out. A mental error by Mantle luckily did not affect the score.

The first batter in the bottom of the ninth was Mazeroski. With one ball and no strikes, he belted the ball over the left field fence and the game was over. All the heroics and luck of the Yankees of the last 2 innings was simply not good enough.

The wildest last two innings in a game 7 of any World Series. The Yankees had scored over twice as many runs as the Pirates in the Series and had 91 hits to 60. And they still lost.

And now, thanks to Bing, we will get to see it. We will see angles of the game that have not been seen since 1960.

I wonder what other stuff is stored in his house?