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Friday, July 20, 2018

Now in Living Color: Ted Williams’s Last Game

Some guy had this 8mm film from Ted Williams’s last game basically stashed in a drawer for 60 years.  Includes the homer.

Several years ago, Murphy said he telephoned ESPN but an associate producer showed little interest.

Murphy also initiated a cordial conversation with the Red Sox, but the team did not request to see the film either.

Unbelievable.

Perry Posted: July 20, 2018 at 03:29 PM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: film, holy moly, ted williams

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   1. Master of the Horse Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:03 PM (#5713259)
Williams looks really big next to the other players. Was he considered a big guy at the time? Baseballreference has him at 6'3" so that's tall but not TALL. And Williams is always written like all he cared about what was hitting but when he hit those I guess fly balls that were caught he was running out of the box. That looks like legit effort. That first at bat where on that last pitch he steps out of the box while the pitch is coming and then heads to first is interesting. Was Williams expecting time to be called? Did he know as the guy threw it was going to be ball four?
   2. karlmagnus Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:08 PM (#5713261)
What a pity this was not unearthed while John Updike was still alive. Because there have been lots of immortal baseball moments, but it's "Hub fans bid Kid Adieu" that makes Williams' last game perhaps the MOST immortal. Isn't it?
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:15 PM (#5713264)
Updike already saw all of this.
   4. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:16 PM (#5713267)
Did he know as the guy threw it was going to be ball four?


He was Ted Freakin' Williams, so, I would say yes.

   5. DavidFoss Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:32 PM (#5713279)
Williams looks really big next to the other players. Was he considered a big guy at the time? Baseballreference has him at 6'3" so that's tall but not TALL.

Here is the 1960 team roster. The last game included Don Gile (6'6") at 1B and Jim Pagliaroni (6'4") at C.
   6. McCoy Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:36 PM (#5713285)
Looks like a bit of a shift was on in his first PA.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:40 PM (#5713288)
Looks like a bit of a shift was on in his first PA.
Oppressed til the bitter end!
   8. Morty Causa Posted: July 20, 2018 at 04:55 PM (#5713292)
I think I've read somewhere that he was more like 6'4". I do remember him saying in My Turn At Bat that he was afraid of having to eject from his jet because he thought he just might lose his kneecaps.

Having never seen him live in a game, I didn't realize his stance was as wide as it is here. The film also captures him swinging and completely missing. That didn't happen that often. In his autobiography he estimates that in about half his strikeouts he took the last strike.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 20, 2018 at 05:07 PM (#5713295)
At least judging from the video, his natural posture seems to be shoulders slumped, looking at the ground, so he probably didn't seem as tall.
   10. Perry Posted: July 20, 2018 at 05:11 PM (#5713296)
He wore a little shinguard, or really ankle guard, on his front leg when he batted. Was he one of the first? I don't remember seeing many of those in the 60s or even 70s.

Was Williams expecting time to be called? Did he know as the guy threw it was going to be ball four?


I'm thinking maybe it was a 3-0 count, he was taking, and he stepped out a bit early to distract the pitcher. You see guys doing that sometimes on 3-0, or squaring like they're going to bunt when they're taking all the way.
   11. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 20, 2018 at 05:52 PM (#5713316)
Whatever happened to that guy whose dad taped the first Super Bowl? He offered it to the NFL, which insultingly lowballed him with a $30,000 offer, and then threatened to sue him if he dared sell the tape to an outside person. He should turn it into a destructive spectacle by soliciting donations: "If the public meets my price of $5 million, I will burn the only existing Super Bowl I tape in the world, live on the internet." The top donors can be there with him, to dance around the flames of league history. And it's not like he'd be selling the game to anyone, so the NFL lawyers could go screw. I bet that would loosen the NFL's pursestrings pretty quickly.
   12. AndrewJ Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:16 PM (#5713362)
This in-game footage, from just two weeks later, is pretty amazing, too. I want to track this YouTube guy down, pay for the film-to-digital transfer and upload the actual footage, not a tape of the projected film of it...
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:19 PM (#5713363)
Here is the 1960 team roster. The last game included Don Gile (6'6") at 1B and Jim Pagliaroni (6'4") at C.

The 6'6"" Frank Sullivan was also on the roster, one part of the trivia question of "Who were the tallest winning and losing pitchers in an All-Star game?"

(In 1955 Sullivan gave up a walkoff home run to Stan Musial, making a winning pitcher out of the 6'8" Gene Conley---who joined the Red Sox the year after Williams retired.)
   14. Rally Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:30 PM (#5713364)
Conley has to be up there among the greatest multi-sport athletes if you judge by how successful he was in his worst sport. For baseball he was about a .500 pitcher, but won over 90 games and 15 above replacement. For basketball he was a backup, but playing behing Bill Russell he’s got 3 rings.
   15. AndrewJ Posted: July 20, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5713365)
Note how Teddy Ballgame flipped the bat after drawing his final base on balls. Don't tell Phil Mushnick.
   16. The Duke Posted: July 21, 2018 at 08:49 AM (#5713441)
I bet the commissioner of baseball really laid into him for his lack of branding awareness when he refused to tip his cap to the crowd. It ruined baseball forever and everyone stopped coming....oh wait.....it didn’t. Hmmm.
   17. manchestermets Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:05 AM (#5713442)
Was it known at the time that it was his last game, or was he planning to return the next year but the club decided not? I only ask because I'm amazed that Fenway is only half full - surely there's no way a stadium would be empty like that for a player of comparable stature's final game now? I guess they just didn't play up the significance back then.
   18. Howie Menckel Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5713443)
The Yankee Stadium attendance for Roger Maris's record-breaking 61st home run in the 1961 home finale (so a year later) was 23,154 - meaning the stadium was 2/3 empty.

To be fair, the Commissioner had decreed that Maris get only 154 games to break Ruth's record - and the schedule had just expanded to 162 games.
   19. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5713444)
Was it known at the time that it was his last game, or was he planning to return the next year but the club decided not? I only ask because I'm amazed that Fenway is only half full - surely there's no way a stadium would be empty like that for a player of comparable stature's final game now? I guess they just didn't play up the significance back then.

Williams had decided to retire well before the season was over, and in his autobiography he wrote that he'd vetoed "days" that Detroit and other cities had wanted to stage for him on his last trip to those cities.

As for the final game in Fenway: The Red Sox were scheduled to wrap up their season in New York, but before that final home game Williams told Pinky Higgins that he wanted to finish his career in Boston rather than on the road. So while everyone would've known it was his final home game, they wouldn't have known it would be the last game he was ever going to play.

As for why the crowd was so small, it was a dreary Wednesday afternoon game between two teams that were long out of contention, in a year when the Red Sox total attendance was barely over a million. If the Red Sox had decided to promote it in advance as Williams' final game, they probably would've drawn a bigger crowd, but you could count on one hand the number of regular season sellouts in those days for midweek day games that weren't also Opening Day. Even the Bobby Thomson game drew well under the Polo Grounds capacity.

And if you think that final game attendance of 10,454 was sadly deficient, the same two teams had met the day before, and drew 5,840. So you might reasonably infer that the knowledge that this was going to be Williams' final appearance in Boston added about 4,600 fans who otherwise wouldn't have come. I don't think John Updike had shown up on Tuesday.
   20. The Duke Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5713446)
There’s another example (maris) of the commissioner dumping on his best players. Seems to be an MLB trend
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:52 AM (#5713448)
The Yankee Stadium attendance for Roger Maris's record-breaking 61st home run in the 1961 home finale was 23,154 - meaning the stadium was 2/3 empty.

To be fair, the Commissioner had decreed that Maris get only 154 games to break Ruth's record - and the schedule had just expanded to 162 games.


Good point. And when Maris and the Yankees came to Baltimore for games 153-155**, a Tuesday twi-night doubleheader on a drizzly and nasty September evening*** saw the Orioles draw their 6th biggest crowd of the year, and their biggest since mid-July. There was plenty of excitement surrounding Maris's chase of the record, but when he came up one short after the 155th game the interest diminished considerably.

** Game #155 was a makeup game, and considered to be #154 for record keeping purposes.

*** I was there, and it had been raining hard for much of the day.
   22. Jay Z Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5713449)
Looks like they let this guy wander all over the park. Ushers must have been jaking it.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2018 at 09:57 AM (#5713450)
There’s another example (maris) of the commissioner dumping on his best players. Seems to be an MLB trend

If the season were now expanded to 192 games, would you consider that Aaron Judge's 74th home run in game #192 had broken Barry Bonds' record? Much as everyone these days likes to dump on Frick, he made what was only a common sense distinction when it comes to counting stats. Obviously Maris broke the the "season" record for home runs, but not all "seasons" are created equal.
   24. karlmagnus Posted: July 21, 2018 at 10:14 AM (#5713452)
In fact, therefore, the first genuine breaker of Ruth's 1927 record was presumably Mark McGwire, a player who seems destined to be almost completely forgotten by history.
   25. McCoy Posted: July 21, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5713454)
Who?
   26. AndrewJ Posted: July 21, 2018 at 11:33 AM (#5713456)
I don't think John Updike had shown up on Tuesday.

Reportedly, Updike only found himself in Boston that Wednesday for an extramarital liaison. When he found that his mistress was out of town, Updike decided to take in a Red Sox game instead.
   27. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5713461)
In fact, therefore, the first genuine breaker of Ruth's 1927 record was presumably Mark McGwire, a player who seems destined to be almost completely forgotten by history.

True on both counts. McGwire hit #60 in the Cardinals' 142nd game, hit #61 in their 144th game, and hit #62 in their 145th game. At the point that the Cardinals had complete their 155th game (including a tie), McGwire had 64 homers, and added his last 6 in the 8 games after that.
   28. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 21, 2018 at 01:46 PM (#5713482)
** Game #155 was a makeup game, and considered to be #154 for record keeping purposes.


The Yankees had one tie in 1927, when Ruth hit 60, and played 155 games.
   29. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 21, 2018 at 02:26 PM (#5713500)
Not that it matters, but FTR Ruth hit #60 in the Yanks' 154th game. He played in game #155 but went hitless.
   30. Morty Causa Posted: July 21, 2018 at 02:40 PM (#5713505)
Too bad there's no sound. Would love to have seen and heard his takedown of the sportswriters in that farewell address.
   31. The Duke Posted: July 22, 2018 at 08:57 AM (#5713725)
Did Frick make that judgement about every other counting stat record? I don’t remember seeing asterisks by all of those when I was growing up

The league has a Long record of dumping on its players whether it was shoeless joe, Ruth himself, maris, rose, McGwire, bonds, a-rod, or now Trout. It’s always a different story but a consistent approach
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: July 22, 2018 at 09:40 AM (#5713729)
Did Frick make that judgement about every other counting stat record? I don’t remember seeing asterisks by all of those when I was growing up


It was the first season of the 162-game season. I suspect it was the only counting stat record to fall that year.

I honestly never saw a problem with noting in the record book where the 154-game record and 162-game record holders differed, if applicable. In this case, Maris would be the single-season record holder and Ruth would hold the 154-game distinction (until MM knocked them both out). And if next week, MLB decides to go the old PCL route and play 190-plus games starting in 2019, then you could make that distinction as well.

It's just more information.
   33. Greg Pope Posted: July 22, 2018 at 09:58 AM (#5713733)
In this case, Maris would be the single-season record holder and Ruth would hold the 154-game distinction (until MM knocked them both out)

I don't think McGwire would knock out Ruth. Ruth would still be the record holder for a 154-game season.
   34. BDC Posted: July 22, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5713735)
Was there much controversy in 2004 about Ichiro's hit record? You'd think I would remember this. Maybe not remembering means that there wasn't much. Ichiro got to "only" 251 hits in 154 games, six short of George Sisler, but then moved ahead of Sisler in the remaining games. Ichiro is credited with the record, but it's not like anybody who vaguely cares has forgotten about George Sisler.

EDIT: I do remember Lou Brock in 1974 fairly obliterating Ty Cobb's season SB record. There was no asterisk-anxiety over that one. Brock broke the record sometime in August.

Remembering 1974 better than 2004 is a sign of … something, anyway :)
   35. SoSH U at work Posted: July 22, 2018 at 10:11 AM (#5713737)
Was there much controversy in 2004 about Ichiro's hit record?


Not really, though I suppose it might have been different if Frick's suggestion had more support.

I don't think McGwire would knock out Ruth. Ruth would still be the record holder for a 154-game season.


You can handle it that way too.
   36. The Duke Posted: July 22, 2018 at 11:46 AM (#5713750)
Maybe we should asterisk Ruth for not having to play against all the best players in America

An asterisk is simply a “get off my lawn sign”.
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2018 at 12:08 PM (#5713756)
Did Frick make that judgement about every other counting stat record? I don’t remember seeing asterisks by all of those when I was growing up

And if you think you remember any asterisks by Maris's record, you must be thinking of the Billy Crystal movie. There were no more asterisks attached to Maris's record than there were asterisks attached to the home run records set by confirmed or suspected steroids users. All Frick did was simply not ignore the fact that Maris had 8 extra games to add to his totals.

As to why Frick (or anyone else) didn't make mention of some of those other counting stat records, it's because the home run record was the only one that anyone other than hardcore fans paid any attention to.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Did Frick make that judgement about every other counting stat record? I don’t remember seeing asterisks by all of those when I was growing up


It was the first season of the 162-game season. I suspect it was the only counting stat record to fall that year.

It was. A similar case arose in 1962, the NL's first 162 game season, when Maury Wills came up one short of Ty Cobb's 96 stolen bases in his first 154 games, but then reached 104 after 11 more games that included a 3 game pennant playoff. The reasons that few people seemed to care about that were (1) Ty Cobb wasn't the icon that Babe Ruth was, (2) stolen bases aren't worshiped the way home runs are, and (3) Wills wound up beating Cobb's season total by 8, not 1.

I honestly never saw a problem with noting in the record book where the 154-game record and 162-game record holders differed, if applicable. In this case, Maris would be the single-season record holder and Ruth would hold the 154-game distinction (until MM knocked them both out). And if next week, MLB decides to go the old PCL route and play 190-plus games starting in 2019, then you could make that distinction as well.

That's exactly what the quasi-official record book, The Sporting News's One For The Book, did for many years for counting stats records. I've never understood what the objection would be to that sort of listing. As you say, it's just more information.

   38. BDC Posted: July 22, 2018 at 12:18 PM (#5713759)
Dang, I forgot about Maury Wills. Anyway, the point still stands, because if there was potential controversy over Wills there was none over Brock.
   39. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: July 22, 2018 at 12:20 PM (#5713762)
Looks like they let this guy wander all over the park. Ushers must have been jaking it.

Ahhhhh the Good Old Days, when a guy roaming all over the park with a video camera wouldn't be stopped and interrogated as a Security Threat then having his camera confiscated.
   40. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2018 at 12:29 PM (#5713768)
Dang, I forgot about Maury Wills. Anyway, the point still stands, because if there was potential controversy over Wills there was none over Brock.

But that was likely because by 1974 Brock would've been aiming for Wills' 162 game record rather than Cobb's 154 game record, as well as for the reason you mentioned in #34.
   41. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2018 at 12:35 PM (#5713770)

Ahhhhh the Good Old Days, when a guy roaming all over the park with a video camera wouldn't be stopped and interrogated as a Security Threat then having his camera confiscated.

It was only 11 years before that that the last overflow crowd was allowed to sit in foul territory during the game when they ran out of seats and standing room. And the year before that, a Yankee Stadium fan ran out to centerfield in the middle of a game----and got Joe Dimaggio's autograph. When others followed him and the cops hauled them away, the fans loudly booed the cops.
   42. Morty Causa Posted: July 22, 2018 at 02:42 PM (#5713807)
Bill James in one of the early Abstracts remarked that Maris's breaking of Ruth's season home run record actually served to enlarge Ruth's accomplishment, however large his legend loomed because of it. It forced close analytical studies that culminated in a reappraisal of Ruth's accomplishments across the board, which resulted in a realization of how truly great he was. He didn't need no stinkin' season home run record. Indeed, that's a rather trivial achievement. (The same thing happened with Aaron breaking Ruth's career home run record.)
   43. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2018 at 04:19 PM (#5713834)
Bill James in one of the early Abstracts remarked that Maris's breaking of Ruth's season home run record actually served to enlarge Ruth's accomplishment, however large his legend loomed because of it. It forced close analytical studies that culminated in a reappraisal of Ruth's accomplishments across the board, which resulted in a realization of how truly great he was. He didn't need no stinkin' season home run record. Indeed, that's a rather trivial achievement. (The same thing happened with Aaron breaking Ruth's career home run record.)

Good point. Very few of the fans who followed Maris in 1961 or Aaron in 1973-74 had actually seen Ruth in his prime. You might also add that Aaron's chase gave birth to at least four new biographies of Ruth in 1974 alone,** at least one more in 1975,** and there may have been even more during those two years that I've forgotten about.

** Robert Creamer's Babe, Kal Wagenheim's Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend, Robert Smith's Babe Ruth's America, Ken Sobol's Babe Ruth & The American Dream, and Marshall Smelser's The Life That Ruth Built. Those five were the first major biographies of Ruth since 1948, the year of his death, and I'd say that much of the credit for that should go to Hank Aaron.
   44. Moeball Posted: July 22, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5713842)
Some thoughts on the 1961 season:
1)If anyone was going to break Ruth's record, most people at the time wanted it to be Mickey, not Roger. Part of that was because of the fixation on BA that was still so prevalent. A lot of people gave Maris crap for his "puny" .269 BA that season whereas Mantle was viewed as a .300 hitter. Ted had just retired and was a .400 hitter in the minds of many people. BA was considered more important than hitting HRs according to writers at that time.
2)The thing that always struck me as funny was if they wanted to limit Maris from getting more "opportunities" to break Ruth's record, they shouldn't have been focusing on games played. They should have been looking at actual opportunities to hit a HR, i.e. plate appearances. Maris finished the 1961 season with only 7 more PA than Ruth had in 1927 and actually had a slightly better ratio of HR/PA. But then, I suppose they didn't know in 1961 just how many PA Ruth had in 1927.
   45. Morty Causa Posted: July 22, 2018 at 04:44 PM (#5713850)
Maris was a genuine talent, who besides never getting over the hoo-rah of breaking Ruth's record, suffered injuries. In 1960, he was on a pace that had him threatening Ruth's record when he had an injury (or injuries), severely limiting his playing time in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, he led the league in RBIs and was only one homer behind Mantle's league-lead of 40. Injuries for the rest of his career ruined what could have been a HOF career.
   46. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 22, 2018 at 04:49 PM (#5713858)
A similar case arose in 1962, the NL's first 162 game season


It's crazy that in 1961, the AL and NL played a different number of games.
   47. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 22, 2018 at 04:50 PM (#5713859)
BA was considered more important than hitting HRs according to writers at that time.

not to mention Frank Trader Lane (yes, I'm still bitter)
   48. Jay Z Posted: July 22, 2018 at 06:55 PM (#5713883)
Good point. Very few of the fans who followed Maris in 1961 or Aaron in 1973-74 had actually seen Ruth in his prime. You might also add that Aaron's chase gave birth to at least four new biographies of Ruth in 1974 alone,** at least one more in 1975,** and there may have been even more during those two years that I've forgotten about.


A 50 year old fan in 1961 would have been 16 in 1927. There would have been plenty of fans that could have seen both.

Of course, far fewer SAW Ruth because of limited technology.
   49. donlock Posted: July 22, 2018 at 07:45 PM (#5713890)
In the box score Carroll Hardy's name is listed. He was Ted Williams' caddy and came in for Ted in this game and often in late innings. I recall Charlie James was the caddy for Stan Musial in St. Louis in Stan's last days.

The custom seems to have faded . Were there any other noted caddies?
   50. Howie Menckel Posted: July 22, 2018 at 08:12 PM (#5713897)
Sammy Byrd caddied for Babe Ruth

Ross Moschitto, Bob Cerv, and Jack Reed caddied for Mickey Mantle
   51. BDC Posted: July 22, 2018 at 08:23 PM (#5713898)
Were there any other noted caddies?

John Vukovich for Mike Schmidt. This was only for a couple of years (1979-81) but was an odd arrangement, since Vukovich played mostly third base, and you would think the 1979-81 Phillies were the last team in history that would have needed a dedicated backup third baseman. But you can't argue with the results in 1980, particularly.
   52. QLE Posted: July 22, 2018 at 08:38 PM (#5713901)
You might also add that Aaron's chase gave birth to at least four new biographies of Ruth in 1974 alone,** at least one more in 1975,** and there may have been even more during those two years that I've forgotten about.

** Robert Creamer's Babe, Kal Wagenheim's Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend, Robert Smith's Babe Ruth's America, Ken Sobol's Babe Ruth & The American Dream, and Marshall Smelser's The Life That Ruth Built. Those five were the first major biographies of Ruth since 1948, the year of his death, and I'd say that much of the credit for that should go to Hank Aaron.


Quite- the Montville biography of Ruth opens with a few pages discussing how all five of these men were researching and writing their works simultaneously, including the moments when they realized that they were in competition with each other. The chase served to speed up Creamer (who had apparently been working on it since the mid-1960s, but had only completed it to 1914 or so), and seems to have played at least an indirect role in influencing the other four in deciding to write their works.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2018 at 09:11 PM (#5713904)
Some thoughts on the 1961 season:
1)If anyone was going to break Ruth's record, most people at the time wanted it to be Mickey, not Roger. Part of that was because of the fixation on BA that was still so prevalent. A lot of people gave Maris crap for his "puny" .269 BA that season whereas Mantle was viewed as a .300 hitter.


Exactly right. The almost universal knock on Maris that year among the writers was his batting average, which was in the .230's when his home run pace was first being noticed. If he'd even hit .283, as he had the year before, there wouldn't have been that nasty undertone.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's crazy that in 1961, the AL and NL played a different number of games.

That's because in 1961 the AL had 10 teams while the NL had 8.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Good point. Very few of the fans who followed Maris in 1961 or Aaron in 1973-74 had actually seen Ruth in his prime. You might also add that Aaron's chase gave birth to at least four new biographies of Ruth in 1974 alone,** at least one more in 1975,** and there may have been even more during those two years that I've forgotten about.

A 50 year old fan in 1961 would have been 16 in 1927. There would have been plenty of fans that could have seen both.

Of course, far fewer SAW Ruth because of limited technology.


Which was why I made that comment. Maris had played in the 1960 World Series, which was viewed on TV by more fans than likely saw Ruth play in his entire career.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Were there any other noted caddies?

Dean Chance for Bo Belinsky.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You might also add that Aaron's chase gave birth to at least four new biographies of Ruth in 1974 alone,** at least one more in 1975,** and there may have been even more during those two years that I've forgotten about.

** Robert Creamer's Babe, Kal Wagenheim's Babe Ruth: His Life and Legend, Robert Smith's Babe Ruth's America, Ken Sobol's Babe Ruth & The American Dream, and Marshall Smelser's The Life That Ruth Built. Those five were the first major biographies of Ruth since 1948, the year of his death, and I'd say that much of the credit for that should go to Hank Aaron.


Quite- the Montville biography of Ruth opens with a few pages discussing how all five of these men were researching and writing their works simultaneously, including the moments when they realized that they were in competition with each other. The chase served to speed up Creamer (who had apparently been working on it since the mid-1960s, but had only completed it to 1914 or so),


When Creamer was interviewed for Mike Shannon's Baseball: The Writers' Game, he said after he'd written 70,000 words he was only up to 1919.
   54. Howie Menckel Posted: July 22, 2018 at 09:20 PM (#5713907)
"It's crazy that in 1961, the AL and NL played a different number of games.

That's because in 1961 the AL had 10 teams while the NL had 8."

sort of.
for a while the NL had 16 teams and the AL 14, but they played the same amount of games.
   55. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 22, 2018 at 09:38 PM (#5713909)
Yes, but in 1961 the NL would've had to make up a one and done imbalanced schedule of 162 games for 8 teams, knowing that in 1962 they were expanding to 10 teams. What would've been the point of that?

Whereas in 1977 there was no thought of changing the number of games just because the AL had 2 extra teams. Again there wouldn't have been any point, not if you wanted the two leagues to begin and end their seasons at the same time. The AL squeezed 8 extra games into the same number of days in 1961, but that's because it was understood that the next year there'd once again be uniformity, so they lived with the anomaly for that one year.

Ironically in 1960 the 8 team NL began the season a week earlier than the 8 team AL, for reasons not really explained, but they took so much heat for it that the next year they made both leagues start and finish at the same time, even though the AL had 8 more games per team.
   56. DL from MN Posted: July 23, 2018 at 09:56 AM (#5713999)
Looking forward to American Experience on Ted Williams tonight!
   57. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:07 AM (#5714006)
Looking forward to American Experience on Ted Williams tonight!

Glad you mentioned that, but when I searched for it on my local PBS station and came up dry, I discovered by googling that it's part of the American Masters series, not American Experience. It's showing in Washington on Wednesday night at 10:00.
   58. villageidiom Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5714031)
Looking forward to American Experience on Ted Williams tonight!
I've just posted another thread on that. Thanks for the tip.
   59. Perry Posted: July 23, 2018 at 10:49 AM (#5714036)
In the box score Carroll Hardy's name is listed. He was Ted Williams' caddy and came in for Ted in this game and often in late innings.


I saw Hardy's name in the box score and clicked on it to see more of his record. Then idly clicked on his SABR bio, where I learned (1) he had quite an interesting life and career in two sports -- he was a college football as well as baseball star, and spent most of his post-baseball life working in the NFL, and (2) he lives in the same town I do!
   60. Morty Causa Posted: July 23, 2018 at 01:14 PM (#5714182)
Isn't Hardy the answer to the trivia question, who pinch-hit for both Ted Williams (I think he had fouled a pitch off his foot and couldn't continue with the at-bat) and Carl Yastrzemski?
   61. donlock Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:13 PM (#5714388)
Sammy Byrd caddied for Babe Ruth. Before my time.

Ted played only 113 games in 1960. He started 86 games and had 46 complete games. He must have pinch hit 40 times. Is that info available directly? Hardy played 41 games in LF in 1960 but only started 15.

When Frank Howard played left field for the expansion Senators, Eddie Brinkman used to run out from SS to take any short flies and also to relay the ball in. That probably doesn't count as being a caddy since Eddie also was responsible for playing Short at the same time. Frank was a gamer but he had a bad arm and didn't move too well in the outfield. He moved to first and presented a big target there.
   62. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 23, 2018 at 05:24 PM (#5714396)
Which was why I made that comment. Maris had played in the 1960 World Series, which was viewed on TV by more fans than likely saw Ruth play in his entire career.


Given the popularity of barnstorming tours in those days, a lot more people probably saw Ruth play than we think.
   63. Hysterical & Useless Posted: July 26, 2018 at 02:49 PM (#5716442)
a lot more people probably saw Ruth play than we think


Particularly if you add in his movie appearances
   64. McCoy Posted: July 26, 2018 at 02:52 PM (#5716445)
Well, what do you think we think?
   65. Rally Posted: July 26, 2018 at 03:31 PM (#5716478)
Good point. Very few of the fans who followed Maris in 1961 or Aaron in 1973-74 had actually seen Ruth in his prime.


Probably well under 50% (for Maris) but not an insignificant number. Ruth led the league in HR and SLG for the last time in 1931. He was 36, so not quite in his prime, but if you saw that season I think you would have been impressed with what the Babe could do. 30 years before Maris. So that's equivalent of someone watching 2018 baseball and remembering what Dwight Evans, George Brett, or Dave Winfield could do. I think there's a decent amount of us old folks left.

As for Aaron, it's been 44 years since he broke the record, which occurred 43 years after Ruth's last HR title. So percentage wise there should be a similar number of people who watched Hank and remembered the Babe as there are people now who remember Hank breaking the record. A bit less due to increased lifespans, but similar.

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