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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

14 minutes of sound footage from the April 1931 Yankees-Red Sox season opener (YouTube)

SEE!  The Sultan of Swat spit!  SEE! The Sultan of Spit swat!

SEE!  “Charlie” Ruffing get an RBI!  SEE!  Mayor Jimmy Walker steal a baseball!  SEE!  The #4 subway train stop for the national anthem!  And hats!  Hats!  Hats!

NOT SHOWN!  The two home runs in the game!  One from Babe Ruth (his first of 46 that season) and—that’s right, you guessed it—Tom Winsett (his first of 1).

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 18, 2018 at 05:13 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: babe ruth, batting practice, film, hats, lou gehrig

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2018 at 08:48 PM (#5712269)
This same video was posted here a few months ago, but AFAIC it can never be re-posted too many times.
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: July 18, 2018 at 09:18 PM (#5712294)
Where can I see you in the video Andy? :-)
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 18, 2018 at 09:29 PM (#5712299)
Why does MLB think we only want to see the Red Sox and Yankees? Let's have the Pirates and Bees on for a change.
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 18, 2018 at 09:40 PM (#5712305)
#1:
This same video was posted here a few months ago,


I even checked for just that possibility before submitting. But my Google-fu must have been coughing up blood. (Now you'll probably show me that I commented ten times in that thread.)
   5. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2018 at 09:52 PM (#5712318)
Where can I see you in the video Andy? :-)

I'm in the CF bleachers, just to the left of the "BETTING IS PROHIBITED" sign, waiting to see if the Yanks will win me a saw. You can pick me out easily since I'm wearing a hat.
   6. QLE Posted: July 18, 2018 at 10:58 PM (#5712359)
Why does MLB think we only want to see the Red Sox and Yankees? Let's have the Pirates and Bees on for a change.


And, with all the good announcers out there, why does Graham McNamee call all the major events?
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 18, 2018 at 11:29 PM (#5712372)
And, with all the good announcers out there, why does Graham McNamee call all the major events?

For a fair number of years, Graham McNamee was about the only announcer there was. Even the Yankees didn't begin radio broadcasts until 1939.
   8. Perry Posted: July 19, 2018 at 12:13 AM (#5712382)
I'm in the CF bleachers, just to the left of the "BETTING IS PROHIBITED" sign, waiting to see if the Yanks will win me a saw.


How many bees was that?
   9. QLE Posted: July 19, 2018 at 12:43 AM (#5712390)
For a fair number of years, Graham McNamee was about the only announcer there was. Even the Yankees didn't begin radio broadcasts until 1939.


True with the Yankees (and with the NYC teams generally), but there were already quite a few local announcers of note by 1931- Ty Tyson, Fred Hoey, France Laux, Hal Totten, and Bob Elson for starters.

*Steps back as guy walks around, asking if we'll subscribe to his newsletter about the evils of Ted Husing*
   10. Snowboy Posted: July 19, 2018 at 05:13 AM (#5712404)
I'm in the CF bleachers, just to the left of the "BETTING IS PROHIBITED" sign, waiting to see if the Yanks will win me a saw. You can pick me out easily since I'm wearing a hat.

I chuckled.

(Thanks, Jolly Old!)
   11. zack Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5713130)
Ruth's batting practice swing looks like crap, no? His game swing looks better though it's harder to tell from the angle. You can at least see the massive weight transfer there.

Gehrig is still chopping down on the ball but his looks more modern.
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 12:38 PM (#5713133)
Ruth's batting practice swing looks like crap, no?
About 98% of players' mechanics back then look like crap, or at best tremendously inefficient. It evolved very slowly over a long time - even if you look at games from, say, the mid-'80s, a lot of the players look pretty bad mechanically.
   13. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5713158)
Look at Ruffing's pitch around the 13:00 mark. Looks like he was throwing batting practice.
   14. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:29 PM (#5713168)
Yeah, I commented on that the last time there was a thread on this footage. The word that keeps coming to mind when I see players' mechanics, and the overall play, from that time is "informal." The game has gradually gotten formalized over the decades, including the mechanics.
   15. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:42 PM (#5713176)
I wonder how long making the pitcher wear a warm up jacket on the bases had been going on?
   16. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 20, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5713186)
I'm in the CF bleachers, just to the left of the "BETTING IS PROHIBITED" sign, waiting to see if the Yanks will win me a saw. You can pick me out easily since I'm wearing a hat.

I chuckled.

(Thanks, Jolly Old!)


On a related note, there's a poster I used to sell in my book shop that's an aerial view of Griffith Stadium on Decoration Day, 1955, a doubleheader against the Yankees where I had a grand stand seat behind the first base dugout. I'd always offer a free copy of the poster to anyone who could pick me out in the crowd.

It shouldn't be hard, I'd say. I'm the one in a white T-shirt.
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:02 PM (#5713188)
Ruth's batting practice swing looks like crap, no?

About 98% of players' mechanics back then look like crap, or at best tremendously inefficient. It evolved very slowly over a long time - even if you look at games from, say, the mid-'80s, a lot of the players look pretty bad mechanically.

That was the thought I had when I first watched the complete game 7 video** from the 1952 World Series. Nearly every hitter seems to have a pronounced "hitch" that looks a lot less fluid that today's timing steps. I have to think that most of those hitters today would be even more blown away by today's 95 - 105 MPH heaters than their 21st century counterparts.

** Still my favorite sports video ever, and not just because that was the first World Series I ever watched in real time.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 02:31 PM (#5713200)
Nearly every hitter seems to have a pronounced "hitch" that looks a lot less fluid that today's timing steps. I have to think that most of those hitters today would be even more blown away by today's 95 - 105 MPH heaters than their 21st century counterparts.
100 percent agree. I can't see how anyone could seriously dispute that today's players are far better than those of previous eras, having seen them in action.
   19. Sunday silence Posted: July 20, 2018 at 05:47 PM (#5713313)
is that Ruth's second wife there? She looks much more attractive than in still photos, she has a sweet voice and a I nice profile.
   20. Sunday silence Posted: July 20, 2018 at 05:55 PM (#5713317)
Not sure what I see in the video that is a "hitch." Not even sure how people define that.

Ruth's swing seems very fluid to me. the lead off guy for NYY seems like he leans forward and his weight is on both feet when he bats. It looks awkward but maybe most players approach is to protect the plate and get the ball in play?

Not sure what I can tell about Gehrig from this footage.
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:11 PM (#5713359)
is that Ruth's second wife there? She looks much more attractive than in still photos, she has a sweet voice and a I nice profile.

It is. They were married in 1929.

Not strictly on the subject, but I was just reading an interview with Robert Creamer, the author of Babe, and he said that (a) Claire Hodgson Ruth wouldn't give him the time of day when he tried to interview her for the book, and (b) every single writer with the exception of Alan Snyder** couldn't find a single good thing to say about her, and that she was thoroughly nasty and money obsessed. OTOH Creamer also said that she helped save Ruth's career by pretty much keeping him at home once they were married. He'd never had a real family growing up, and her large extended family was one of the things that made her so attractive to him. But she was a real gold digger, and had her eye on Ruth's money right from the start.

Not sure what I see in the video that is a "hitch." Not even sure how people define that.

Just to be clear, I was talking about the 1952 game, but to me a "hitch" is a slight involuntary kink in your swing as you're stepping into a pitch that causes your bat to slow down just a bit. I know it when I see it and I knew it when I slipped into it myself BITD, but it's easier to see and feel than it is to describe.

** I'd never heard of him either
   22. Sunday silence Posted: July 20, 2018 at 09:27 PM (#5713373)
Ruth seems unusually grim and a little nervous in the interview dont you think? I mean in contrast to his usual boisterous image. Is it because Claire right next to him?
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 20, 2018 at 10:00 PM (#5713377)
Ruth seems unusually grim and a little nervous in the interview dont you think? I mean in contrast to his usual boisterous image. Is it because Claire right next to him?

I think it's more that in 1931 Ruth might have felt self-conscious about having his words recorded in front of a camera, for the simple reason that he hadn't had much practice at it before. Don't forget that back then sound pictures were still in their relative infancy.

You have to remember that BITD there was an informal Gentlemen's Agreement between writer and celebrity: Celebrity will speak somewhat frankly to writer, but writer will in turn make the celebrity appear in print to be at least minimally articulate.** If, for instance, you look through the Sporting News dispatches from Dan Daniel, whenever he puts the words of even Yogi Berra in quotation marks, he'll make Berra sound like a college graduate, speaking invariably in complex sentences with a few ten dollar words thrown in. Daniel used to lay it on so thick that he was often mocked for it, but until the Chipmunks came along, that Gentlemen's Agreement pretty much held forth.

But when an uneducated celebrity like Ruth was forced to "speak into the mike", he was likely well aware that there wasn't going to be any Dan Daniel to rescue him from any malapropisms, and so it's not too surprising that he would come across as a bit nervous. No ballplayer likes to feed into the stereotype of an uneducated clod, unless like Dizzy Dean he consciously chooses to make it a part of his "brand". At least that's my take on it.

** Exceptions were made for "colorful" blacks, Southerners and hillbillies, whose words were often transcribed in the writer's idea of their respective vernaculars, all strictly in fun.
   24. AndrewJ Posted: July 20, 2018 at 10:46 PM (#5713381)
** Exceptions were made for "colorful" blacks, Southerners and hillbillies, whose words were often transcribed in the writer's idea of their respective vernaculars, all strictly in fun.

Also Latin Americans.
   25. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 20, 2018 at 11:35 PM (#5713391)
** Exceptions were made for "colorful" blacks, Southerners and hillbillies, whose words were often transcribed in the writer's idea of their respective vernaculars, all strictly in fun.

Also Latin Americans.


True, although when I wrote that I was thinking more of the 30's, before Latin Americans had much visual presence in the North American baseball world. I also should have added that the blacks who were "quoted" and caricatured were usually porters or servants, with an occasional Satchel Paige thrown in. Even well into the 50's, you'd see stereotyped black figures popping up in Sporting News cartoons, although by that time actual black ballplayers were depicted more realistically in illustrations if not in speech. Willard Mullin's renditions of black ballplayers were particularly good in that respect, others often less so.

As for Latin ballplayers, IIRC the first one whose English got the full "treatment" from sportswriters was Minnie Minoso, but after him pretty much all Latin ballplayers were depicted speaking like cartoon characters. That didn't really change until the late 60's or early 70's, when the ballplayers essentially told the writers "Enough of this ####".
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 21, 2018 at 12:32 AM (#5713412)
As for Latin ballplayers, IIRC the first one whose English got the full "treatment" from sportswriters was Minnie Minoso, but after him pretty much all Latin ballplayers were depicted speaking like cartoon characters. That didn't really change until the late 60's or early 70's, when the ballplayers essentially told the writers "Enough of this ####".

Chico Escuela in 1978.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2018 at 08:24 AM (#5713437)
As for Latin ballplayers, IIRC the first one whose English got the full "treatment" from sportswriters was Minnie Minoso, but after him pretty much all Latin ballplayers were depicted speaking like cartoon characters. That didn't really change until the late 60's or early 70's, when the ballplayers essentially told the writers "Enough of this ####".

Chico Escuela in 1978.


Obviously I was referring to sportswriters when I wrote that, not the writers for Saturday Night Live or other comedians.

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