UPDATE: It is also being released on DVD on Dec. 14. The official word, for all you hot-stovers: Once thought to be lost forever, the complete original television broadcast of the 1960 World Series Game 7 – regarded by many as the greatest baseball game ever played - will be telecast on MLB Network on December 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET, the first time it will be seen on television since it was originally played more than 50 years ago. The black-and-white kinescope of the game film was discovered earlier this year at the home of the late Bing Crosby, who was a part owner of the Pirates at the time.
Presented exclusively and with limited commercial interruption by Chevrolet, MLB Network Special Presentation: 1960 World Series Game 7 will include exclusive interviews by MLB Network’s Bob Costas with former members of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, including Dick Groat and Bill Virdon, as well as former New York Yankee and 1960 World Series MVP Bobby Richardson, Vera Clemente, wife of the late Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente, and actor and Pittsburgh native Michael Keaton.
Continues after the jump.
Other former Pirates players and former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris are featured throughout the program. The interviews were recorded in front of a live audience of more than 1,000 at the historic Byham Theater in Pittsburgh on November 13, 2010, where the film of Game 7 was screened. Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski, who was unable to attend the event at the Byham Theater due to illness, was interviewed on December 2, 2010 at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the History Center in Pittsburgh. A preview of the program can be viewed here.
The special presentation will include the original television broadcast of Game 7 in its entirety, interspersed with reactions by Mazeroski, Groat, Virdon and Richardson to key plays in the game, including Mazeroski’s dramatic game-ending home run for the Pirates, a bad hop on a ground ball that hit Yankees infielder Tony Kubek in the throat, a key play at first base by Yankees legend Mickey Mantle and a critical three-run home run in the eighth inning by Pirates catcher Hal Smith, who received a rousing standing ovation 50 years later from the audience at the Byham Theater.
With Hall of Fame award-winning announcers Mel Allen and Bob Prince alternating play by play of the game every half-inning, the program also includes the four-minute-long postgame show, hosted by Prince. Prior to the screening and telecast, MLB Network worked with Technicolor to restore the 50 year-old game footage, enhancing the audio and picture quality. The game film is a sign of its time with limited on-screen graphics and no instant replay.
Prior to the program, MLB Network Remembers with Bob Costas: Bing and Baseball will air at 7:30 p.m. ET as an introduction into the great entertainer’s role in baseball, including interviews with Crosby’s widow Kathryn, his son Nathaniel, Michael Keaton, Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner and Robert Bader, Vice President of Marketing and Production for Bing Crosby Enterprises. Featured in the program is footage of Crosby performing “White Christmas,” whose version of the song is the number-one selling record of all time, as well as clips from the short film Road to Home, starring Crosby’s friend and one of the most recognizable entertainers in the world, Bob Hope.
Highlights from MLB Network Special Presentation: 1960 World Series Game 7 include:
Bill Mazeroski on the game’s score going into the third inning:
“We were up 4-nothing, 4-nothing it felt pretty good. But by a long shot it didn’t feel like we won this game yet. There was still a lot of game left to play and … you’re never comfortable with any lead. I don’t care if it’s a 15-run lead, [I’m] never comfortable with that many innings to go.”
Mazeroski on the game’s ninth inning:
“I was just sitting there and thinking about how in the world we’re going to beat these guys and what’s gonna happen here and somebody yelled, “You’re up.” I forgot I was up and somebody yelled “You’re up,” and that’s when I went and got my helmet and went up and hit.”
Mazeroski on his game-ending home run:
“When I hit it, I didn’t know for sure if it was going out. … You know, it’s 410-feet out there. I hit it good and I knew when I hit it that Yogi wasn’t going to catch it. But I didn’t know if it was going out or not. I heard the noise, the people yelling. I looked down the left field line, the umpire is giving it this shot and I hit second and - I don’t think I touched first or touched the ground the rest of the way home. I just floated home. All I could think about was ‘We beat the Yankees. We beat the great Yankees.’”
Hal Smith on his three-run home run:
“I really didn’t think about it a lot. … I really didn’t know what happened until I rounded second base. When I went around second base and I looked up in the stands and the people were all in on the dugouts, I thought, ‘What the heck have I done?’ And I get [to] home and Groat and Clemente both lift me up in the air and I was absolutely overwhelmed. … I thought that no matter what happened, I had really helped in a World Series and that had been my lifelong dream.”
Dick Groat on missing a double play off a single by Mickey Mantle:
“Believe it or not, 50 years later, I should have knocked the ball down and made a play. It’s one of the plays that’s haunted me for 50 years that I did not knock the ball down.”
Bill Virdon and Dick Groat on the 1960 Pirates’ season:
Virdon: “We came from behind in the eighth and the ninth inning. I mean we never gave up and after this happens several times, you just keep thinking it’s going to happen. And it did.”
Groat: “That was just typical of our whole 1960 year. That’s the way our year went, everything went our way. … There’s no question the Yankee organization was the finest organization in all of baseball. They just dominated the American League and even in Spring Training when we’d play another American League team, they were going to Spring Training to see who was going to finish 2nd. Cause they just conceded the Yankees were stronger. And to beat the Yankees makes it something special. There’s a guy standing out there that made a great catch, he knows what it’s like to win a special game. Am I right Franco? … When you beat the best, it’s something special, and again, this was, as Bill Mazeroski and Bill Virdon and I have said numerous times when we’ve been together, the 1960 Pirates were a team of destiny. Everything seemed to fall in place for us, we were just supposed to win. And ironically, watching the films of this game [and] we’ve seen the earlier highlights, I was never conscious all those years playing there how awful that infield looked. But it sure paid off, didn’t it?”
Dick Groat on the 1960 Pirates team:
“We’ve been together three or four times this summer and it’s like we’ve never been apart. … Having gone through the pennant race in ‘58 and then again in ‘60, you develop bonds and the closeness and the friendship that never goes away the rest of our lives. Thank God I played with all these guys, they were really special.”
Vera Clemente on her late husband:
“I always remember - I want to tell the fans here – that he used to say he loved his fans so much. He said ‘If someday the Pirates decide to trade me, I will quit because I will not play with [any] other team, only with the Pirates.’ He loved this city so much.”
Michael Keaton on Bill Mazeroski as his idol:
“I played in leagues until I was in my 40’s - various baseball and basketball and softball leagues – and there may have been a couple of times where I wasn’t number 9, but I don’t remember. I [was] a guy in my 40’s and I’m still angry if I don’t get number 9.”
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