Skip to main content

Maybe I shoulda gone to Paris in 1969 instead ...

Of all the disparate elements in Richard Sandomir’s story in the New York Times about Bing Crosby and the intact film he had created of the final game of the 1960 World Series, here’s the part I liked best.

As part owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates (see Bob Lemke’s cool 1952 Topps-style card shown here), he was supposedly too nervous to watch, so he and his wife went to Paris.

In 1969, I was too nervous to watch my previously inept New York Mets play in the World Series, so I enlisted in the Navy and went to the Philippines, topping Crosby’s record by several thousand miles.

OK, I’ll concede that my case isn’t a precise parallel to Crosby’s, but I did think it pretty neat that somebody would go to Paris for such a laudably eccentric reason.


(I am sure my readers know how computer challenged I am, so you'll understand that I put the link to the New York Times story just above this sentence, but for some bizarre reason it shows up invisible on the blog. Trust me, if you click just above this paragraph – even though the link is invisible – it will take you to the Times story.)

Anyway, he listened to the games on the radio, but also knew he would want to see a Game Seven if the Pirates won, so he hired a company to film the game that baseball historians had long lamented had not been available on film in its entirety. The film was made off of a television monitor.

Once Bing had viewed the triumphant moment, the tape was salted away in his Hillsborough, Calif., wine cellar where it remained unnoticed and unknown until it was found last December when estate officials were looking at videotapes of Crosby’s television specials for a planned DVD release.

Now, after months of negotiations, the MLB Network will be permitted to televise the historic broadcast this December, wrapping interviews and related film snippets around it, and will later sell DVDs.

I would love to see that broadcast, though it may take a bit of work to do so, since I don’t get the MLB Network and buying a DVD won’t cut it either, since I haven’t yet upgraded to a DVD player (I’m not sure the technology will catch on).

Watching Mazeroski sock that home run was one of my first memories of seeing an important moment of baseball history. I was a fifth grader at P.S. 25 in Yonkers, N.Y., in 1960, and I raced home from school that afternoon just in time to see the last couple of innings. I was only 10 years old at the time, and yet it seems like I can remember a good deal about that game but can’t recall what I had for lunch yesterday. No videotape of that is available.