Review: Game 7 of the 1960 World Series – Pirates vs. Yankees

All images courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

1961 Topps #312 - World Series Game 7 Bill Mazeroski - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.comI recently finished watching Game 7 of the 1960 World Series, and boy, that was a fun game to watch.  The game itself is exciting, but the fun is on so many levels…  The players, the uniforms, the ballpark, the manual scoreboard, the broadcast itself… it’s so great being able to watch an entire game from 50 years ago without going through the filter of a World Series Highlight film.

If  you know anything about this series, you know that Bill Mazeroski hit a walk-off homer in game 7 to win the series.  What’s telling about this series is that the Yankees absolutely beat upon the Pirates in their 3 wins, and scored 9 runs in this loss.  Yankee Bobby Richardson was the MVP, and when the MVP is on the losing team, that tells you something.

1960 Topps #405 - Bobby Richardson - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com

For those who don’t know the story behind this recording of the game, it was something which was thought to have been lost, but an archivist going through Bing Crosby’s wine cellar (Bing was a part-owner of the Pirates) found a kinescope (a film made of a TV broadcast) of the game.  It was originally re-broadcast on the MLB Network in December, 2010.  I’d Tivo’ed the game at the time and didn’t watch the game all at once;  instead, I watched an inning or two every time I needed a baseball fix.

It’s kind of trite to say this, but a large part of the fun was seeing players “come to life”.  There were so many players I was familiar with, but had never seen on a field before;  there’s Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Yogi Berra and Roberto Clemente – one small thing I noticed is that when Clemente tossed a ball back into the infield, he did so underhanded, almost like fast pitch softball.
1960 Topps #326 - Roberto Clemente - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
I’m familiar with Tony Kubek from his  broadcasting days, and many of the other players, guys like Bobby Shantz, Roy Face and Gil MacDougald, I know solely from vintage cards.  I hadn’t realized it, but if Shantz were playing today he’d be a favorite of mine… Dude was about my height (5’7”), and those who read this blog regularly are probably tired of me saying that I’ve got a soft spot for the vertically challenged.

1960 Topps #315 - Bobby Shantz - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
At one point in the game, it looked like Hal Smith would go down through the ages as the hero of Game 7, but things didn’t quite pan out that way…
1960 Topps #48 - Hal W. Smith - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
There was Bill Virdon patrolling center field, which was very interesting to me… Virdon was the manager of the Yankees when I first started following baseball, and it’s odd to think of him as a defensive specialist and on-base guy.
1960 Topps #496 - Bill Virdon - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
Then there’s just the general feel of the game.  The uniforms were flannel, still a bit baggy, but starting to come into what we’re familiar with.  The stirrups were getting longer, the sleeves were getting shorter.

They showed the manual Forbes Field scoreboard often, and showed the score being changed once or twice.  I have to say, If I were ever to have input into the design of a ballpark, I would make sure that there’s a manual scoreboard somewhere in the place.  You can have 300-foot tall megatron videoboards everywhere, but there needs to be one manual scoreboard somewhere.  It’s just too cool not to have.

If whatever method you might use to watch this game includes the post-game interviews, don’t skip them.  It’s fun to watch and see how each player gets his 15 seconds on camera and then is almost literally shoved off to the side.  And the jacket that Bob Prince is wearing… GAHHHHH!!!!  Even in black and white, it’s a sight to behold.
1970 Fleer World Series #57 - 1960 Pirates/Yankees - Courtesy of CheckOutMyCards.com
I’m not a particular fan of the Pirates, and I’m certainly not a fan of the Yankees, but even so I’m thinking about buying this on DVD.   Great stuff, highly recommended.

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